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The islands of the Comoros in the southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO) region are renowned for their exceptional biological diversity. A complex process of land separation, island emergence, and habitat isolation has produced a high concentration of endemic species.
Before our recent collection, less than 30 species were known from the region. During the fieldwork, 139 species were collected, including three new genus records for the Malagasy region (Calyptomyrmex, Dicroaspis, and Eurhopalothrix) and more than 45 undescribed ant species. Up to ten specimens of each species were sequenced for the CO1 barcode gene to compare with samples form Madagascar, Seychelles, and East Africa. This inventory of ants is now being used as part of a larger project to understand the processes of faunal assembly and diversification in the SWIO region.
Brian L. Fisher