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British Columbia

Robert Higgins

British Columbia is Canada?s westernmost province. It comprises about ten percent of the land mass of Canada at approximately 950,000 square kilometres. Two major mountain ranges dominate the western coastal and eastern interior borders, establishing a series of different moisture regimes from east to west. Together with the fact that British Columbia spans 11 degrees of latitude (49-60 N), these conditions create a great number of distinct ecosystems. These include temperate coastal rainforests, dry interior grasslands, and northern boreal forests.

Eighty-three species of ants have been confirmed within the province, almost exclusively within the sub-families Formicinae (58 species, 35 in the genus Formica) and Myrmicinae (22 species, 8 in genus Myrmica). Although these two sub-families dominate all ant communities in the province, Tapinoma sessile (Dolichoderinae) is widespread throughout the warm, dry areas of the province. The ant communities of the province show an increasing dependence upon woody debris for nesting with increasing latitude. In extensive sampling in logged and non-logged sub-boreal forests near Houston (54 N), no ants were found nesting in soil. No ants are known to have been collected above 55 N latitude, although the Yukon territory north of British Columbia was surveyed on one occasion.

Robert Higgins
British Columbia Ant Curator

Download Rob's 2006 Study on the role of woody debris