Skip to main content
Dryad

Common ant species dominate morphospace: unraveling the morphological diversity in the Brazilian Amazon Basin

Cite this dataset

Andrade-Silva, Joudellys et al. (2024). Common ant species dominate morphospace: unraveling the morphological diversity in the Brazilian Amazon Basin [Dataset]. Dryad. https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pg4f4qrzf

Abstract

Rare plant and vertebrate species have been documented to contribute disproportionately to the total morphological structure of species assemblages. These species often possess morphologically extreme traits and occupy the boundaries of morphological space. As rare species are at greater risk of extinction than more widely distributed species, human-induced disturbances can strongly affect ecosystem functions related to assemblage morphology. Here, we assess to what extent the distributions of ant morphological traits are supported by morphologically extreme species and how they are distributed among habitats in a global biodiversity hotspot, the Brazilian Amazon. We used a morphological database comprising 15 continuous morphological traits and 977 expert-validated ant species distributed across the Brazilian Amazon. We produced species range estimates using species distribution models or alpha hulls (when few records were available). Next, we conducted a principal components analysis to combine traits into a space with reduced dimensionality (morphospace). Then, we identified morphologically extreme species in this space and quantified their contributions to morphological diversity across different habitat types in the Brazilian Amazon Basin. We identified 114 morphologically extreme ant species across the Amazon ant morphospace. These species also accounted for a large percentage of morphospace filling, exceeding 99% representation in the most disturbed habitats in the Amazon. Our results suggest that a few morphologically extreme species capture most of the variation in ant morphology and therefore, the spectrum of ecosystem functions performed by ants in the Brazilian Amazon Basin. Further, unlike for many other groups, these extreme morphologies were represented by the set of most common species. These results suggest greater functional redundancy and resilience in Brazilian Amazon ants, but more broadly, they contribute to our understanding of ecological processes that sustain ecosystem functions.

README: Common ant species dominate morphospace: unraveling the morphological diversity in the Brazilian Amazon Basin

https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pg4f4qrzf

Data on ant occurrence by vegetation types (Appendix table S1) and morphological measurements of ant species (Appendix table S2) were recorded in the Brazilian Amazon Basin. Morphological traits were delimited by the first four axes of a principal component analysis (PCA) and were used in the manuscript "Common ant species dominate morphospace: unraveling the morphological diversity in the Brazilian Amazon Basin". Morphological measurements taken for ant species included: HW = Head width; HL = Head length; CL = Clypeus length; ML = Mandible length; MW = Mandible width; FL = Hind femur length; SL = Scape length; WL = Weber’s length; ID = Inter-ocular distance; EL = Eyes length; PrW = Pronotum width; DEM = Distance of eye to mandible insertion; PeL = Petiole length; PeW = Petiole width; PeH = Petiole height.

Description of the data and file structure

Table S1: Occurrence database for ants by vegetation types in the Brazilian Amazon Basin. Ant records used in this study can be retrieved freely from https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ht76hdrj8, and metadata are available in Andrade-Silva et al. (2022). We used nine main vegetation types in the Brazilian Amazon, as provided by the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE 2012): (1) anthropic, (2) white sand forests (Campinaranas), (3) dense ombrophilous forests, (4) open ombrophilous forests, (5) pioneer vegetation (i.e., sand bars, mangroves), (6) savannah, (7) seasonal deciduous forest, (8) seasonal semideciduous forest, and (9) vegetational refuge (i.e., high-altitude fields, peat areas). For more details on each vegetation type, please see 'Table 1' in Andrade-Silva et al. (2024).

Table S2: Morphological database developed from a set of 977 ant species (about 91% of the species recorded for the Brazilian Amazon Basin) and 15 continuous morphological traits (see Table S1 in Andrade-Silva et al. 2024). We used the first four axes of an ordination (PCA) to reduce the number of input variables. Measurements were taken primarily through high-definition images available on Antweb or during visits to collections. Taxonomic literature was consulted for morphological measurements of ant species without available high-definition images from online databases.

Reference cited

Andrade-Silva, J., Baccaro, F. B., Prado, L. P., Guénard, B., Warren, D. L., Kass, J. M., Economo, E. P. and Silva, R. R. 2022. A large-scale assessment of ant diversity across the Brazilian Amazon Basin: integrating geographic, ecological and morphological drivers of sampling bias. Ecography, 9, e06295. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.06295.

IBGE (Inst. Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística). 2012. Manual técnico da vegetação brasileira: Sistema fitogeográfico, inventário das formações florestais e campestres, técnicas e manejo de coleções botânicas, procedimentos para mapeamentos. - IBGE.

Citation:

Andrade-Silva, J., Baccaro, F. B., Prado, L. P., Guenard, B., Kass, J. M., Warren, D. L., Economo, E. P. and Silva, R. R. 2024. Common ant species dominate morphospace: unraveling the morphological diversity in the Brazilian Amazon Basin. Ecography.

Methods

Occurrence and Morphological Datasets

The primary occurrence database comprises historical and current ant records for the Brazilian Amazon (from 1817 to 2020). Data were obtained from the Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics project (GABI: Guénard et al. 2017; but also see database treatment in Andrade-Silva et al. 2022). We updated this dataset by incorporating new literature published in 2021 and 2022. Valid species names were based on the Online Catalog of the Ants of the World (AntCat: Bolton 2022, last checked in November 2022). We only considered nominal ant taxa (valid species and subspecies); informal taxa (morphospecies) were not included.

We developed the morphological database from a set of 977 ant species (about 91% of the species recorded for the Brazilian Amazon Basin) and measured 15 continuous morphological traits, including HW = Head width; HL = Head length; CL = Clypeus length; ML = Mandible length; MW = Mandible width; FL = Hind femur length; SL = Scape length; WL = Weber’s length; ID = Inter-ocular distance; EL = Eyes length; PrW = Pronotum width; DEM = Distance of eye to mandible insertion; PeL = Petiole length; PeW = Petiole width; PeH = Petiole height.

Vegetation Type Dataset

We used a vegetation-type shapefile for the Brazilian Amazon provided by the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE 2012) to describe the regional morphological structure of ants from different habitats. The complex vegetation structure in the Amazon Basin is one of the main drivers of animal diversity, hosting varied microhabitats that enable interspecific coexistence (Laurance and Vasconcelos 2009, Fichaux et al. 2019). We defined nine main vegetation types in the Brazilian Amazon: (1) anthropic, (2) white sand forests (Campinaranas), (3) dense ombrophilous forests, (4) open ombrophilous forests, (5) pioneer vegetation (i.e., sand bars, mangroves), (6) savannah, (7) seasonal deciduous forest, (8) seasonal semideciduous forest, and (9) vegetational refuge (i.e., high-altitude fields, peat areas). We reclassified the IBGE vegetation shapefile by grouping vegetation classes within their immediately superior vegetation types. For example, we reclassified the classes "alluvial dense ombrophilous forest" and "lowland dense ombrophilous forest" into "dense ombrophilous forest". We reclassified vegetation types using shapefile dissolve operations in QGIS, version 2.18.2 (QGIS Development Team 2019).

Funding

Coordenação de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Award: Finance code 001

National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Award: 301271/2023-2, PCI-DB

National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Award: 317900/2021-8, PCI-DB

National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, Award: 300981/2022-8, PCI-DB

Universidade Estadual do Maranhão, Award: 15/2023-PPG/CPG/UEMA

Amazon Research Foundation, Award: ICAAF no. 012/2018

Amazon Research Foundation, Award: process 2018/2999534

Amazon Research Foundation, Award: ICAAF no. 020/2020

Amazon Research Foundation, Award: ICAAF no. 081/2023