1.1 Definition of Biodiversity
Biodiversity is the abbreviated word for Biological Diversity (Krishnamurthy, 2003). Biodiversity is meaning the variety of life and it is normally treated in terms of genes, species and ecosystems. There are three main categories of biodiversity which are genetic diversity, taxonomic diversity and functional diversity.
Genetic diversity is meaning which the diversity of genes within a species as well as between that species. One of the function of genetic diversity is it can protects ecosystem from any environmental changes. Beside this, it can also protect that species from getting disease.
Taxonomic diversity is involving in identifying the number of different taxa which is usually for the species level. It can also use to calculate the abundance of individuals in order to get the weighting of the species.
Lastly, functional diversity is the most important of biodiversity among these three diversity. Functional diversity is to recognize the variety of roles in the ecosystem.
Biodiversity is including living organisms and their complex interaction, and also interaction with the abiotic or non-living aspects of their environment. Biodiversity can change over when there are longer-term, evolutionary, and time-scale. There are some process which can cause significant or long-term changes to the structural and spatial characteristics of global biodiversity for example, geological processes, changes in sea-level, and changes in climate.
1.2 Definition of Species Richness
Species richnessis the number of different species in a given area (Wikipedia, 2010). Factor that affecting species richness are latitude, productivity, and area. If the farther from the equator, the fewer species can be found in that place. Equally, as altitude increase, species richness will decrease. At lower latitudes, there are higher amounts of energy available because of more solar radiation, more resources; as a result higher levels of species richness can be allowed at lower latitudes.
1.3 Definition of Abundance
Abundance is means an ecological concept which referring to the relative representation of the species in an ecosystem. Usually it is measured as the larger number of individuals that found per sample. The number of species abundances are distributed within an ecosystem is referred to as relative species abundance (Wikipedia, 2010). Way to calculate the relative species abundance is dividing the number of species from one group by the total number of species from all groups.
1.4 History of Ants
Ants have been called Earth's most successful species or most successful groups of insects due to ants have been living on the Earth for more than 100 million years. Beside these, ants can also be found almost anywhere on the planet except Antarctica, Iceland, Greenland and some others place where is lack native ants. It is estimated that there are about 20,000 different species of ants (Glossopedia, 2010). For this reason ants have been called Earth's most successful species. Ants are classified in a single family, the Formicidae, within the order Hymenoptera, and are social insects which have been evolving successfully since the Cretaceous period (Folgarait, 1998).
Ants belong to the phylum Arthropoda which is perhaps the largest and most diverse phylum of the animal kingdom. Over one million animal species, 75% of all the known fossils and living organisms, are categorized within this phylum. Additionally, when one takes into account the consensus among scientists that many arthropod species still remain undocumented or undiscovered.
They belong to the order Hymenoptera, and are particularly close relatives of thevespidand scoliid wasps. The first known ants appeared sometime during the laterCretaceousperiod. They are physiologically distinguished mainly by having sharply elbowedantennae, and by having a bead-likepedicelformed from the first fewabdominalsegments, which in wasps are joined to thethorax. Also, most ants are wingless, although this varies between individuals in a colony rather than between species.
Since ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors and they exhibit very similar physical characteristics as their predecessors are thus ants are classified under the order hymenoptera, which is the same order under which the various families of bees, wasps and sawflies are categorized. The order of Hymenoptera is one of the largest groupings within the class of Insecta. It also is the third largest order of insects in worldwide and contains six major families: Apidae, Braconidae, Cynipidae, Scoliidae, Vespidae and Formicidae ants.
Most species within this order except the worker ants, they have two pairs of wings, where anterior and posterior wing sets are hooked together and operate in unison while in flight to form a single aerodynamic surface. All species possess mandibulate mouth parts. Beside this, most also live in colonies that exhibit evolved, complex social systems with divisions of labor and are narrowly adapted to specific habitats and/or hosts, although the order, as a whole, exhibits a wide range of behavioral adaptation. Hymenoptera species are mostly predatory or parasitic, however, herbivores do exist.
According to the world statistics, nowadays ants have 22 subfamilies, 299 genera and 14095 species (AntWeb, 2002).
Table 1: List of subfamilies of ants species (AntWeb, 2002)
i) To identify and then to compare the species composition of ants that live in Nephelium lappaceum and Hylocereus polyrhizus.
The number of individuals in Nephelium lappaceum is more than the number of individuals in Hylocereus polyrhizus. This is because the ants more prefer the food which is sweeter. Furthermore, Nephelium lappaceum has the aromatic flowers which have highly attractive to many insects. Therefore it can attract more ants to build their colony in there.
1.7 Problem statement
The most difficult part of ant inventory in tropical region is identification process. Inventory data are usually analyzed by relying on the presence or absence of species. However, identification of tropical ant specimens to species will be very difficult or impossible, because most groups of the ants have yet to be studied in detail. This difficulty makes the recognition of morphospecies a necessary part of inventory studies for ants (Agosti et al., 2000).
Furthermore, process of identification of ants is requiring entomologists to help identify the ant and confirm the species of ant. Beside this, this is also need entomologists to provide training on identification. In addition, the knowledge on species of ants is needed to make the identification of ants can be easier. If no entomologists are available in the area, scientists trained in ant taxonomy may be able to help.
Besides these, while doing identification also need to be more patient especially when want pin the ant species. If there is careless when handling, this can damage the ant specimen. For example: the ant's antennae might be damage and this may result entomologists cannot identify the ant to species. This mean the antenna of ants is consider the most important part because from it entomologists can know the ant species.
1.8 Significance of study
Ants have been living on the Earth for more than one hundred million of years, this make ants have been called Earth's most successful species or most successful groups of insects. And according to the world statistics nowadays ants have 22 subfamilies, 299 genera and 14095 species. All of these reasons had made ants become more interesting when we are exploring its diversity.
Furthermore, species composition of ants that live in Nephelium lappaceum and Hylocereus polyrhizus might be different. Therefore from this research may let us know which subfamilies, genera and/or species of ants are present in both types of trees. Besides these, this study provide us better understanding about the biodiversity of ants and get to know the potential factors that cause the abundance and/or richness of ants on any particular tree species to be low or high.
1.9 Thesis Organization
This thesis is consist five chapters which is writing about the identification of ants species that live in Nephelium lappaceum and Hylocereus polyrhizus. The chapters in this thesis have been organized as follows:
Chapter 2 generally discuss about the definition of biodiversity, species richness and abundance. Besides theses, it also gives some information of ants. The information is about history of ants and its subfamilies. It also has given some information about Nephelium lappaceum and Hylocereus polyrhizus.
Chapter 3 more focuses on the research methodology on how to carry out this research. It is divided into two parts which is the study area of this research and how this research is was carried out. Besides, this chapter was also discussing about how is the identification of ants was carried out.
Chapter 4 is focusing on the results that obtained from this research. This chapter also discuss about the differences between two types of trees and species of ants.
Chapter 5 was a last chapter and it was discuss about the conclusion to the whole chapter in the thesis.
2.1 Subfamilies of ants
a) Subfamily Myrmicinae
This is the largest of all ant subfamilies, with more than 6700 described species and many others awaiting description. Myrmicine encompass an extraordinary range of foraging behavious, nesting habits, and colony structure. They include omnivores, gemeralized predators and scavengers, specialist predators, seed harvesters, primitive fungus-growers and leaf-cutting ants. They are found on all major land masses and in essentially all habitats occupied by ants (Solenopsis spp.), leaf-cutting ants (Atta, Acromyrmex), and seed harvesters (Pogonomyrmex, Messor) (Lach et al., 2010).
b) Subfamily Formicinae
The subfamilies Fromicinae is another cosmopolitan group, with about 3600 described species. Formicine are very diverse in nesting and feeding habits, although in comparison to myrmicine they show less of a tendency towards reduction in size and occupation of concealed microhabitats. Most species appear to be generalist predators and scavengers; specialized predation is rare. A few formicines lineages are predominantly hypogaeic and have developed trophobiotic relationships with subterranean roof-feeding hemipterans. Familiar formicines include carpenter and sugar ants (Camponotus), wood ants congeners (Formica), honeypot ants (Myrmecocytus) and weaver ants (Oecophylla) (Lach et al., 2010).
c) Subfamily Ponerinae
This is one of the smaller subfamilies of ants, with most species found in the tropical regions of the world. Worldwide there are about 2000 described species and subspecies in subfamily Ponerinae placed in 42 genera. In tropical regions, ponerines can be large, conspicuously abundant, and inflict a painful sting. These are primitive ants that nest in small colonies of a few hundred individuals or less, mostly in soil or rotting wood. They are predaceous and carnivorous. Some species are solitary hunters that do not recruit nestmates to food sources - a primitive behavioral trait (Hedlund, 2010).
2.2 Description of ants
Ants belong to the insect order Hymenoptera, which also includes the wasps and bees. Ants like all or other insects have six legs and each leg has three joints. The legs of the ant are very strong, this make they can run very quickly. Ants can lift 20 times of their own body weight. An ant brain has about 250 000 brain cells (John et al., 1996). Ants range in size is usually from 0.75 to 52 mm and varies in colour such as black, brown, red, yellowish and/or combinations of theses. An ant can live for 45 days to 60 days; this means the average life expectancy of an ant is 45 to 60 days (John et al., 1996).
All species of ants have a larger and wider forewing and a smaller hindwing. This characteristic makes it easy to distinguish an ant from other species such as termites because both the front and hind termite wings are even in length. Ants are social insects that live in colonies or nests which may have as many as 100,000 individuals (Bugyman, 2010). In each colony has three distinct social castes which consisting of queens, males, and workers. The queen ant lays all the eggs for her colony. They live in colonies in underground tunnels or in galleries in dead wood. Ants are beneficial to humans because they eat other insects, but can cause damage to structures. Ants can make homes almost anywhere. These homes can hold from a few hundred ants to over one million (Manitoba, 2010).
Ants are covered with an exoskeleton and exhibit much the same anatomical and physiological attributes as was listed above under the phylum Arthropoda. They have 3 main body regions; the head, thorax and abdomen can also called metasoma. They have two compound eyes.
Each eye is made of many smaller eyes, one on each side of their head, two long bowed antennae on top of their head, mandibular mouth parts, a thin neck, six legs attached to the region of their thorax and a characteristic slim "waist", which appears "pinched" posteriorly at the junction of their thorax and metasoma. Most ants have a metapleural gland that produces phenylacetic acid that deters the growth of fungi and bacteria and all breathe air via spiracles.
Ants are social insects and live in communities which are called colonies or nests that exhibit evolved, complex social systems with divisions of labor. Ant families are also very big. In an ant family, there are sometimes millions of ants. In ant colony, there have three distinct social castes consisting of queens, males, and workers. Each ant colony has at least one or more queens (Wikipedia, 2010).
The job of the queen is to lay eggs which the worker ants look after. The queen and male ants keep their species going. The size of queen is larger than all of ants. The duty of male ants is to make the queen give birth to new ants. Soldier ants are responsible for protecting the ant's colonies, hunting and finding new places for nests. Beside these, worker ants are all sterile female ants. Therefore female ants cannot give birth to new ants. They can only take care of the queen and her babies, for example feed on queen's babies.
In addition, they also have to do all the other jobs in the colony such as they build new corridors in the nest, search for foods and clean the nest. While for the worker ants and soldier ants also divide into smaller groups among themselves. Some of these are breeder, builder and food-hunters. Each group has a different job. Worker ants are sterile; they look for food, look after the young, and defend the nest from unwanted visitors.
An ant can easily know whether another ant belongs to its own colony or not by touching the other ant's body with antenna (Yahya, 2007). Ant's antenna helps them to distinguish strangers and if the other ant was a stranger then they will not let the ant get into their own home.
They cooperate with each others in caring for their young ants, share a common nest site with complex tunnels and chambers, and exhibit a reproductive division of labor where sterile individuals or female ants work for the benefit of a few, reproductive individuals (Agosti et al., 2000). As soon as they are able, the young begin to work and contribute to colony labor while parents are still alive. Although ants usually have set tasks within the colony, it is not uncommon for individuals to temporarily change jobs when help might be deficient in another area. For instance, a worker ant that usually retrieves food for the colony might temporarily switch jobs to assist other workers repair a damaged nest.
An ant which is an adult is unable to digest hard or solid foods. They can only digest liquids which are sucked from the food material (Bugyman, 2010). For the young larvae must feed on liquids. Their food sources include sweet exudations of plants or insects, fruits, vegetables and almost anything consumed by human beings. Ants are also useful scavengers of insects and organic matter.
Ants use pheromones to communicate with one another. They are specialized chemicals that are secreted by the ant which assist them to recognize colony members, mark trails to food and water sources, determine the caste of another individual and signal for emergency measures like attack, defense and aid. Tactile communication is mainly used when a nest mate requests liquid food from a forager to be regurgitated on demand. These requests take place between adults and the process of regurgitating food on demand to feed a requesting individual is called "trophallixis" (Wikipedia, 2010).
Ants attack and defend themselves by biting or by stinging, often injecting or spraying chemicals likeformic acid.Bullet ants like Paraponera which located inCentralandSouth America, are considered to have the most painful sting of any insect, although it is usually not fatal to humans. This sting is given the highest rating on theSchmidt Sting Pain Index. The sting ofJack jumper antscan be fataland anantiveninhas been developed.Fire ants,Solenopsissp. are unique because they having a poison sac which containingpiperidinealkaloids. Their stings are painful and can be dangerous to hypersensitive people (Wikipedia, 2010).
A population is a collection of individuals of the same species that found in a given area. There are some factors that regulate ant populations to be increase, decrease or stabilize. There are two groups of factors that regulate population of ants, which are resource-based factors and mortality-based factors (Agosti et al., 2000).
Resource-based factors regulate populations by controlling the supply of resources as well as a colony's access to those resources. While for mortality-based factors are those that kill and/or harvest parts of colonies. Base on resource-based factors can determine how fast the ant populations can grow in a habitat; mortality-based factors can determine the actual standing crop of a species (Agosti et al., 2000).
They are three types of resource-based factors: resources, conditions and population interactions. Resources mean the items which are actually used and depleted by ant colonies for example, food or nest sites. Conditions are abiotic factors that regulate access to resources for example, temperature or humility. While population interactions is describe how other populations in the habitat regulate access to available resources (Agosti et al., 2000).
As habitats become more productive, numbers of ant colonies will become higher. For example: net primary production measures the amount of photosynthesis in a habitat, in unit of grams of carbon fixed per square meter per year. Ants are thermophilic, they are often common in direct sunshine. Therefore temperature is a preeminent condition for ant population (Agosti et al., 2000).
Mortality-based regulation is varieties of factors kill and cull ant colonies. Ant populations are also regulated by harvesting. Just as regular pruning of a garden can keep individual plants in check; predators that drain a colony's resources by killing its workers can help regulate ant populations (Agosti et al., 2000).
2.3 Life cycle of ants
A queen and her colony can live to be 30 years old. Worker ants can live for one to three years; but male ants live for only a few weeks. Generally ant broods were going through four stages as they develop: egg> larvae> pupae> adult. All ants are undergoes complete metamorphosis, which means that eggs, larvae, pupae and adults are present in the colony.
Stages of Development
Queen will lay eggs in her chamber which the eggs are small, pearly white eggs. Sizes of ant eggs are tiny and with approximately 0.5mm in diameter and their weight are about 0.0005g and the shape of egg is almost like the shape of kidney. They were having a smooth sticky surface which are enables them to bond together in a mass which aids adult ants to move them about more quickly. This feature of eggs make the adult ants can carry many eggs in one which is more easily and quicker to go rather than to pick each individual egg up when they having emergencies case.
If she fertilizes the egg with sperm stored from her "nuptial flight", her offspring will become female. Conversely, if her egg remains unfertilized her offspring will become male.
The larvae will emerge from the eggs after about 14 to 23 days (Ant Nest, 2009). The larvae are looking very much like tiny maggots. Ant Larvae are small, white and grub-like. The larvae are largely immobile and are fed and cared for by workers.
They shed their skin as they are growing. Usually is about 3 times, this process make the larvae were increasing in size with each moult from 1mm to 4mm. With each successive moult, they will become more hairy with some of the hairs being hooked to enable, like the eggs. With the numbers of larvae to hook together is for easier carrying. Nevertheless at the last the larvae are usually too heavy to hook together, therefore they are carried singularly (Ant Nest, 2009).
Various ant species will have various in the appearance. Therefore, they will get some little differences in the appearance of the larvae, for example some of them are hairier than others. The larvae are capable to do some very small movements such as bending their head toward a food source even they do not have legs. And for some species, if necessary they can move along very slowly.
During this stage of development, the larvae are totally dependent upon their caretakers for food. They are fed by trophallixis which is the process in which an antregurgitatesliquid food held in itscrop. This is also how adults share food, stored in the "social stomach", among themselves. Larvae may also be provided with solid food such astrophic eggs, pieces of prey and seeds brought back by foraging workers and may even be transported directly to captured prey in some species (Yahya, 2007).
Once the larvae have gone through all of the skin moults, they will change into the final stage which is the pupae stage. This process was required another 24 to 27 days before they become pupae. Pupa is look like a white waxy ant which lay with their legs and the antennae is folded up against its bodies.
For some ant species, such as Lasius niger, they do not have a pupa stage. But the larvae will spin themselves into a cocoon which it wills undergoes metamorphosis into the adult ant. To be able to spin a cocoon, the larvae must be against a solid object; this could be the ground or wall of a chamber. But in some other cases, the larvae will be buried in the soil to assist them in the spinning of the cocoon, only to be dug up again by the adult workers once the cocoon is completed (Ant Nest, 2009).
Pupa formation is hormone-dependent. During this stage the larval anatomy of the ant is broken down and the adult structures are formed. Pupae are incased in a hard protective coating and, as seen from the outside, appear immobile for the duration of time they spend in this state. Although they look static, arrays of internal metabolic activities are taking place. Thus, the use of the term "resting phase" for the pupa stage is a great misnomer.
The adult ant was emerges from the cocoon after about 13 to 28 days. All of the stages were need about 8 to 12 weeks from egg to an adult ant. This varies is according to ant species and ambient temperatures. The adult ant will emerges from the cocoon is looking very pale and soft (Ant Nest, 2009).
For the newly born Lasius niger ant, it is almost white at first but after a few hours, it will become darken which is to black and it's exoskeleton will harden.
The life span of the ant is varies for each caste, and varies from species to species. The workers of some species can only live for a few weeks, but there are some other species may be able to live for several years. There is one exception which is for the queen of the tiny Pharaoh ant,Monomorium pharoanis, may live for only three months, but the queen ofLasius nigercan live for up to 15 years. Incidentally, the record for ant longevity is held by a queen ofLasius niger who,in a German laboratory nest, lived for 29 years (Ant Nest, 2009).
The differentiation into queens and female workers and differentcastesof workers is determined by the nutrition the larvae obtain. To ensure proper development of ant, larvae and pupae need to be kept at fairly constant temperatures and they are often moved around the various brood chambers within the colony.
A new worker spends the first few days of its adult life caring for the queen and young. It then graduates to digging and other nest work, and later to defending the nest and foraging. These changes are sometimes fairly sudden, and define what are called temporal castes. An explanation for the sequence is suggested by the high casualties involved in foraging, making it an acceptable risk only for ants that are older and are likely to die soon of natural causes.
2.5 Nephelium lappaceum
Nephelium lappaceum (rambutan) is native to Southeast Asia and belongs to the same family (Sapindaceae) as thesub-tropical fruits lychee and longan (Marisa, 2006). It is believed to be native to the Malay Archipelago although its precise center of origin is unknown.It is closely related to other edible tropical fruits such as Litchi, Longan, and Mamoncillo.It is a popular back yard fruit tree and propagated commercially in small orchards.Rambutan, one of the best known fruits of Southeast Asia,is widely cultivated throughout the tropics including Africa, the Caribbean islands, Central America, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Philippines, and Sri Lanka (Erickson et al., 2001).
Fruits have edible aril, which is eaten fresh, canned or mixed with other fruits. Seeds, which are eaten after roasting, are rich in fat and are hence used in manufacturing soap and candles. It is a little smaller than the usual red variety and is colored yellow. The outer skin is peeled exposing the fleshy fruit inside which is then eaten. It is sweet, sour and slightly grape like to the taste. Different plant parts are used for medicinal purposes. Rambutan is native to Malaysia.
Rambutan has chromosome number 2n=22 (Doijode, 2001). It grows well in hot, humid tropical conditions with high rainfall. Its cultivation is successful in its native area. It prefers well-drained soil. Trees are evergreen, monoecious or dioecious and grow up to 20m in height. Flowers are unisexual or perfect, small, greenish white and arranged in panicles. Fruit is globose or ovoid with hairy prickles. Its flesh is juicy, white, sweet or sourish.
2.6 Hylocereus polyrhizus
Hylocereus polyrhizus (red dragon fruit) is a tropical fruit popular in Southeast Asia belongs to family Cactaceae. Vietnam is the main commercial producer of dragon fruits in this region (Dragon Fruit Plantation, 2010). It is native to Mexico, Central and South America (Benzing, 1990; Haber, 1983) and has been grown in Vietnam for at least 100 years, following its introduction by the French (Mizrahi et al., 1997).
A member of the Cactaceae, it has trailing cladode stems modified to act as leaves and bears spectacular ovoid fruit year-round which has a bright red colour when mature, and contains white, crimson, or pale yellow-flesh, depending on the cultivar, interspersed with small black seeds. In Thailand, one of the widely grown varieties is Hylocereus undatus or red pitaya with white-flesh. Other varieties that have been commercialised are Hylocereus polyrhizus (red pitaya with red-flesh) and Hylocereus megalanthus (yellow pitaya) (Barbeau, 1990).
The fruit of pitaya was apart from being refreshing and tasty which has loads of vitamin C and it is said to help digestion. The plant is like climbing cactus vine which is grows well in dry areas. It grows best in soil with a high level of organic materials because of its epiphytic nature (Dragon Fruit Plantation, 2010). The colours of flowers are white and large in shape which is measuring 30 cm long or more than 30cm. When in bloom, they will produce a sweet fragrance and the flowers will bloom for one night only.Red dragon fruitplants can have between four to six fruiting cycles in one year. It can be propagated by seed or by stem cuttings.
3.1 Study area
The study was carried out on March 2010 in Field 10, which is located in University Putra Malaysia. There have 132 trees of Hylocereus polyrhizus (red dragon fruit) and 35 trees of Nephelium lappaceum (rambutan).
1- Nephelium lappaceum 1 a- Hylocereus polyrhizus 1
2- Nephelium lappaceum 2 b- Hylocereus polyrhizus 2
3- Nephelium lappaceum 3 c- Hylocereus polyrhizus 3
4- Nephelium lappaceum 4 d- Hylocereus polyrhizus 4
5- Nephelium lappaceum 5 e- Hylocereus polyrhizus 5
Table 2: Point of pitfall traps
1 - 2°59'28.5"N, 101°42'51.6"E
1 - 2°59'30.17"N, 101°42'52.18"E
2 - 2°59'30.3"N, 101°42'51.7"E
2 - 2°59'30.66"N, 101°42'52.58"E
3 - 2°59'30.1"N, 101°42'51.7"E
3 - 2°59'29.76"N, 101°42'52.71"E
4 - 2°59'29.6"N, 101°42'51.6"E
4 - 2°59'30.17"N, 101°42'53.49"E
5 - 2°59'30.7"N, 101°42'51.7"E
5- 2°59'30.27"N, 101°42'53.11"E
A four days collection or two times of sampling at Field 10, Universiti Putra Malaysia was yielded 3 subfamilies and 7 genera of ants. They were manually collected by using hand sampling (manual collection), fine forceps and pitfall traps. Collection was made in the trees which were chosen randomly. The 7 genera of ants collected were representatives of 3 subfamilies. The subfamilies were Formicinae, Myrmicinae and Ponerinae. Formicinae was showed the higher percentage in the collection, followed by Myrmicinae. In total, 87 ants from 7 genera in 3 subfamilies were collected.
3.2 Sampling Collection
Ants, in general, are very easy to sample (Folgarait, 1998). There are many methods that can use to collect ants. For example, baits, pitfall traps, nest mapping, litter or soil extraction, Winkler funnels for litter or soil core samples and hand collections with forceps or nets are among the most common methods to sample ground foraging ants. All of these methods are easy to use, cheap and less time consuming. When choosing the method of sampling is dependent on the aim of research.
On this research, methods that have chosen are hand sampling (manual) or forceps and pitfall traps to capture the ants on both of trees. Sometimes forceps also been used to collect ants which is on the ground. The forceps that used is fine forceps because by using fine forceps can reduce the damage of ants when handling it.
Pitfall trapping is a simple method to capture ants. Beside this, pitfall trap also is an efficient method compare with other methods and it is cheaper, inexpensive and efficient method for sampling ground dwelling ants in ecosystems (Greenslade 1964; Bestelmeyer et al., 2000).
This method is involves embedding an open container, partially will filled with a liquid, into the ground in such a manner that the rim is even with the soil surface. Ground dwelling organisms such as active ant foragers, and in some cases alates, fall into these traps where they are retained and killed; the liquid acts both as a killing and a preservative agent (Greenslade et al., 1971; Bestelmeyer et al., 2000).
When using pitfall traps, there are some things that have to be concern for example; the diameter of the pitfall traps affects the number of species caught. Some ant species are easier to trap than others. These techniques only can samples surface-active ants.
Advantages to pitfall traps are it is simple to use than other methods. Beside this, it can operate continuously through day and night and yield high numbers of ants which can be statistically analyzed.
In field 10, there were 5 rambutan trees and 5 red dragon trees with chosen randomly based on the distance and characteristic of trees. Pitfall traps were set up in each tree that had chosen on the morning and left for 1 day. After finished setting all the pitfall traps, observation of ants was started.
The weather was considered hot when this research was carried out. From the observation, it was found that there are a lot of ants were on the ground by compare with the others part of tree. While observed the ants, some ants also had collected by using fine forceps. Observation was done by using 1 hour for each tree.
Ants that collected by fine forceps were put into bottle with immediately. For each bottle was labeled the date of collection and location.
There was a liquid was poured into each pitfall traps. The liquid that commonly used for ants preservation is a mixture of water and alcohol which is known as “safe antifreeze”. Water in this preservative evaporates more slowly compared to water alone, this allowing sampling intervals to be extended before replenishment is required. Ideally, the kill or preservative agent should not affect capture frequently of the organisms targeted for sampling as this may introduce bias into the results.
3.3 Samples preservation
Ants that collected and placed in bottles were persevered by using alcohol solution. Alcohol that used was 85% concentration and ethanol was chosen for this preservation due to it is the more common solution was used. Preservation was done in laboratory. After the ethanol was poured into each bottle, then it was closed with tightly to prevent it from evaporate.
3.4 Identification and confirmation of ants
In the laboratory the ants were identified to generic level. Identification to the species level was not possible because keys of ants in the tropics presently are unavailable. Ant specimens were identified in consultation with Cik Nor Zati who is a Inspector of Forestry Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM). All ants were observed and collected is identified by using the taxonomic key to Bornean subfamily of Formicinae.
Ants that collected were identified by using the taxonomic key to Bornean subfamily of Formicinae. Identification was carried in lab entomology which is in Faculty of Agriculture. Before start doing identification, the ants were pin and gam it on a small piece of paper which is in triangle shape. With small piece of paper can make the identification more easily when the identification was carried.
The first step is to sort the ants from the order organisms collected in the pitfall traps. Then make sure that all organisms identified as ants really are ants. All ants are classified into one family, the Formicidae which is in the order Hymenoptera along with bees and wasps.
The next steps are to identify the ant specimens to subfamily and then to genus. There are 22 subfamilies of ants, with 299 genera and 14095 (AntWeb, 2002).
Before attempting to identify an ant specimen to genus or species, it is best to become familiar with the taxonomic keys, the body parts of an ant and the morphological characters that are most frequently used to identify ants. Therefore the body parts of an ant are the most important part for identification process and we need to make sure there is no any damage of the ant especially abdomen and antennae of ant.
Identifying ants to species is much more difficult because taxonomic keys to species are distribute throughout the literature, many keys are out of date and there are no keys for many regions of the world, particularly tropical areas. The first step in species identification is to separate the ant specimens into morphospecies or unit that look different from one another. Each morphospecies should be assigned a number so that specimens sorted later can be associated with similar previously encountered specimens. Morphospecies designations should be based on the traditional morphospecies characters used in ant taxonomy.
It is unlikely that identification of all ant species at a site can be completed without some assistance. However, attempts should be made to identify as many of the specimens as possible, using publications that contain information on the ants of the area, especially those publications that contain taxonomic keys.
After identifying the ant specimens as far as possible, the next step is to contact local entomologists, some of whom may be familiar with ants to provide taxonomic training or assist with identifications.
If no entomologists are available in the area, scientists trained in ant taxonomy may be able to help.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
A total of 87 individuals were collected on both Nephelium lappaceum and Hylocereus polyrhizus for this study. For Nephelium lappaceum, the total number of individuals collected was 40. While for Hylocereus polyrhizus the number of individuals was 47. These represented 3 subfamilies and 7 genera. Subfamily Formicinae comprised the greatest number of species and the most individuals were captured for both sampling methods.
There were 51 numbers of ants in the subfamily Formicinae representing 3 genera. In Myrmicinae, there were 22 numbers of ants that representing 1 genus. Ponerinae was only 14 ants collected which representing 3 genera in this collection.
Table 3: Total result from two methods
Number of individuals
Number of individuals
(Red Dragon Fruit)
4.1.2 Comparison the number of individuals by using pitfall traps method and hand collection (manual)
If compare both types of sampling methods, hand collection or manual was showed the greatest number of species. This was because hand collection (manual) is an active method which means that the number of ants collected is depends on the collector.
By using hand collection, the total numbers of individuals that collected were 53 for both types of trees. For Nephelium lappaceum only has 25 numbers of individuals, while for Hylocereus polyrhizus has 28 ants.
By using pitfall traps, the total numbers of individuals that collected were 34 for Nephelium lappaceum and Hylocereus polyrhizus. Number of ants that collected in Hylocereus polyrhizus was 19. While for Nephelium lappaceum only has 15 numbers of individuals.
Table 4: Total result by using hand collection
Number of individuals
Number of individuals
(Red Dragon Fruit)
Table 5: Total result by using pitfall traps
Number of individuals
Number of individuals
(Red Dragon Fruit)
4.1.3 Comparison between Nephelium lappaceum and Hylocereus polyrhizus
For Nephelium lappaceum, subfamily Formicinae was showed the higher number of individuals that collected which are 22 ants. While subfamily Ponerinae was showed the lowest number of individuals that collected which is only 4 ants. Dicamma sp. and Odonotponera sp. was the lowest number of individuals that collected which is only 1 ant. Crematogaster sp. is the higher which are 14 numbers of ants.
For Hylocereus polyrhizus, subfamily Formicinae was the greatest numbers of ants collected in this collection which is 29 ants. And the lowest is subfamily Ponerinae which is 10 ants to be collected. The highest number of individuals that collected is Polyrhachis sp. which is 11 ants. While the lowest numbers of individuals is Dicamma sp. and Odontoponera sp. which is only 3 ants.
In this research, it was found that numbers of ants collected by using hand collection (manual) method is higher than pitfall traps method. Total number of ants that collected with hand collection was 53 ants and pitfall traps only has 34 numbers of ants.
Pitfall traps method was an effective method to sample ants. But with pitfall traps has one disadvantage which is when it is raining. It means that pitfall traps only more effective when sampling was carried out during hot season or there is no raining. Due to the period of sampling, there was raining during night time. This condition can cause a major problem with using pitfall traps to collect ants (Porter, 2005). When there is raining, rain water can enter into the pitfall traps. Once the rain water was entered into the traps, it was no longer function as traps. Beside this, the rain water which enters into the traps can also make the concentration of ethanol become dilute. If concentration of ethanol becomes dilute, it can affect the number of ants that trapped into the pitfall traps.
Therefore, numbers of ants that collected by using pitfall traps were less than hand collection. Besides these, hand collection (manual) is considered an active method to sample ants. This is because it is depends on the collector to capture the ants. It means that if there are many ants, therefore the number of ants that collected will be more than usual.
From the result which using hand collection, numbers of ants in Hylocereus polyrhizus is higher than in Nephelium lappaceum. For Hylocereus polyrhizus, the total numbers of ants were 28 ants and Camponotus sp. was showed the greatest number of species, 7 ants.
From this collection that was showed Camponotus sp. was the highest number of individuals in the collection site and this was supported by (Mohamed, 1998) which stated that Camponotus sp. was the more familiar common and diverse genus (Mohamed, 1998). Thus, the probability of Camponotus sp. for appear in the collection site is considered higher than others genus.
While for the lowest number of ants that collected in Hylocereus polyrhizus is Odontoponera sp. Odontoponera sp. that found in this collection was poorly represented. Based on (Mohamed, 1998), it was stated that Odontoponera sp. is one of the common and abundant genus. But from this collection, the numbers of ants that collected is the lowest; this is because the moisture content of the collection site is dry due to the hot weather during the sampling period. Ant activity is correlated with temperature and humidity (Yamamoto and Claro, 2008). Therefore the temperature and humidity of collection site could affect the abundance of ants in that place and play an important role on it.
Due to the hot weather and low humid, therefore most of the ants were more preferred to just stay in the nest where the humidity is higher than went out to explore to the hot weather. Thus the probability of ants on the ground were deceased and it was made the collector cannot collect more ants from this collection.
While for the Nephelium lappaceum which using hand collection method, the highest numbers of ants that collected was Crematogaster sp., 9 ants. Crematogaster sp. is a species which is only occurred in larger trees (Maschwitz et al., 1991) such as Nephelium lappaceum. Therefore the numbers of ants for Crematogaster sp. that occurred in Hylocereus polyrhizus is less than in Nephelium lappaceum. Beside this, this is also because the colonies of Crematogaster sp. is big thus this make Crematogaster sp. will only occurred in large tree. Due to the size of colonies for Crematogaster sp. is big, thus it more occurred in larger trees.
While the lowest numbers of individuals in Nephelium lappaceum are Dicamma sp., Odontoponera sp. and Odontomaschus sp. which is only 1 ant to be collected in this collection. This could be cause by these species were not preferred to sweet materials such as Nephelium lappaceum. Ants were feed on many different types of foods (IPM Manual, 2008). For example: Fire ants are feeding on honeydew, sugars, proteins, oils, seeds, plants and insects (Koehler et al.). There are some ants like yellow meadow ants feed on the roots of plant, thus it was showed that different species of ants will have various types of foods to feed.
Based on the result which using pitfall traps, number of ants in Hylocereus polyrhizus is 19 while in Nephelium lappaceum is only 15 ants. This was showed that composition of ants that exist in Hylocereus polyrhizus is higher than in Nephelium lappaceum.
For Hylocereus polyrhizus, the highest number of ants that collected is Polyrhachis sp. According to (Mohamed and Kohout, 2008), Polyrhachis is one of the most common, diverse and widespread genus. This was means that the number of ants collected will be more than the others genus due to its most common and diverse genus. This situation was supported by (Mohamed and Kohout, 2008), which Polyrhachis sp. was the greatest number of ants collected among all the species for this study.
Polyrhachis sp. is most common genus, thus the percentage for this species to be occurred in Hylocereus polyrhizus is higher than others species of ants. If compare with others species which is less common or diverse genus, the percentage for that species to be occurred is much lower than those species which is most common such as Polyrhachis sp and Camponotus sp. Hence the numbers of ants that could be collected is less.
While for the lowest numbers of ants that collected in Hylocereus polyrhizus is Dicamma sp. which is only 1 ant. The low humidity of the place could cause the composition of ants to be reduced because most of the ants are more preferred to the place where is the humidity is high. When there is hot season, the composition of ants is lower than rainy season. This is because hot or dry season was make the chances for most of the ants went out to find food become less than usual.
For Nephelium lappaceum, the highest numbers of ants collected in this collection is Crematogaster sp. This result was same with hand collection, Crematogaster sp. is considered one of the species of ants which is more occurred in larger or bigger trees. Therefore the numbers of ants collected in Nephelium lappaceum could be higher than in Hylocerues polyhizus. Due to Nephelium lappaceum can grow up to 20 meter in height and it is considered a large tree, while for Hylocereus polyrhizus can only grow up to 3 meter in height.
While for the lowest numbers of ants collected by using pitfall traps in Nephelium lappaceum is Dicamma sp. and Odontoponera sp which is no ant to be trapped in pitfall traps. This situation was happening could be due to the ineffective of pitfall traps that placed in each tree. This is because during the sampling period or pitfall traps that placed, there is raining when night time. When raining, there is surface runoff and can cause the rain water fill into the pitfall traps. Once the rain water was get into the pitfall traps, it makes the pitfall traps no longer as trap and could not trap any ants anymore.
Besides theses, rain water that fills into pitfall traps could also dilute the concentration of ethanol which is added in pitfall traps as a killing or preservative purpose. This could be reducing the numbers of ants to be trap into the pitfall traps.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In conclusion, the species of ants that exist in Hylocereus polyrhizus is more than in Nephelium lappaceum. In Hylocereus polyrhizus, there have 7 genera with 47 numbers of individuals. Genera that have in Hylocereus polyrhizus are Polyrhachis sp., Camponotus sp., Paratrechina sp., Dicamma sp., Odontoponera sp., Odontomaschus sp. and Crematogaster sp. Among all of these species, Polyrhachis sp. was the greatest numbers of ants that exist in Hylocereus polyrhizus.
In Nephelium lappaceum, there was also having 7 genera of ants with 40 numbers of individuals. The 7 genera are Polyrhachis sp., Camponotus sp., Paratrechina sp., Dicamma sp., Odontoponera sp., Odontomaschus sp. and Crematogaster sp. The highest numbers of ants collected is Crematogaster sp..
For further study, it is recommended that information about ants should be added more by those who are studying about the ants in order it can give or provide more information for students or who are interested about ants. Besides these, training should be providing to who are interested about ants and want to learn how to identify ants.
With all of these information or training, this can be attract more people to learn about ants and get to know about ants.
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