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Ants are one of the most diverse and abundant insect groups inhabiting tropical rain forests on Borneo, an island which comprises the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak, the Indonesian state of Kalimantan, and the country of Brunei). There are nine subfamilies, 94 genera and more than 1000 described species of ants on Borneo, representing about 15% of all described species in the world. In Sabah, there are more than 300 described species, and many more species await description.
There is an urgent need to solve the impediments facing Bornean ant identification. Many ant species on Borneo are dependent on forest habitats, but their habitats are often threatened from forest degradation (e.g. commercial selective logging), fragmentation, and land-use change. For example, large areas of forest in Sabah have been converted to oil palm plantations, and previously extensive tracks of forest now exist as isolated forest remnants. These habitat changes have been detrimental to ant diversity. In response to this forest disturbance and its impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, the United Kingdom’s Darwin Initiative has recently funded projects investigating the responses of ground-dwelling ants to forest disturbance. One project has examined the effects of selective logging on ant diversity, while another project examined the effects of forest fragmentation on ant diversity, resulting in the sampling of ~200 ant species/morphospecies. Another project is examining methods to reduce biodiversity losses in oil palm plantations by determining possible ‘spill-over effects’ of ants from forest remnants into adjacent areas of oil palm plantation . These projects have been, and will be, instrumental in creating a database and reference collection of ants from Sabah. Specimens collected through the Darwin Initiative projects will be deposited at the Forest Research Centre (Sabah Forestry Department), Universiti Malaysia Sabah, California Academy of Sciences, and the Natural History Museum, London.
This webpage features most of the ants in Northern Borneo. I am hoping other researchers interested in the Ants of Borneo to join me as Curators of Ants in Borneo.