Invasion of yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes in a Seychelles UNESCO palm forest

  • The mature palm forest of the Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the Seychelles island of Praslin, is a unique ecosystem containing many endemic species, including the iconic coco de mer palm Lodoicea maldivica. In 2009, the invasive yellow crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes was recorded for the first time within the palm forest, raising concern about its potential impacts on the endemic fauna. This research aimed to: (1) assess the current distribution and spread of A. gracilipes within the palm forest; (2) identify environmental variables that are linked to A. gracilipes distribution; and (3) compare endemic species richness and abundance in A. gracilipes invaded and uninvaded areas. Anoplolepis gracilipes was confined to the north-east of the site and remained almost stationary between April 2010 and December 2012, with isolated outbreaks into the forest. Infested areas had significantly higher temperature and humidity and lower canopy cover. Abundance and species richness of the endemic arboreal fauna were lower in the A. gracilipes invaded area. Molluscs were absent from the invaded area. The current restricted distribution of A. gracilipes in this ecosystem, combined with lower abundance of endemic fauna in the invaded area, highlight the need for further research to assess control measures and the possible role of biotic resistance to the invasion of the palm forest by A. gracilipes.

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Author:Christopher N. Kaiser-Bunbury, Harriet Cuthbert, Rebeckah Fox, Darryl Birch, Nancy Bunbury
Parent Title (English):22.2014, S. 43-57
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2014/07/31
Date of first Publication:2014/06/26
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2014/07/31
Tag:Endemic arboreal species; Western Indian Ocean; World Heritage Site; coco de mer palm; geckos; invasive alien species; islands; molluscs
Page Number:15
First Page:43
Last Page:57
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 59 Tiere (Zoologie) / 590 Tiere (Zoologie)
Sammlungen:Sammlung Biologie / Sondersammelgebiets-Volltexte
Zeitschriften / Jahresberichte:NeoBiota / NeoBiota 22
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0