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Croatia Ants

Gregor Bračko

Croatia (56,542 km²) is a European country at the crossroads of Central Europe, the Mediterranean and the Balkans. It is composed of three natural-geographic regions. The Pannonian and Peri-Pannonian regions , mainly lowland area in the northeastern and central part of the country, are primarily under cultivation. Mountainous Croatia makes up part of the Dinaric Alps and separates Pannonian Croatia from the Adriatic. Large areas of preserved woodland remain in this region, especially to the north in Gorski Kotar. The Coastal region stretches along the northeastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. Along the coast, mediterranean climate predominant with mild winters and dry summers. The coastline is very indented and consists of about 1,185 islands and islets.

Some 140 ant species have been found in Croatia. The Coastal region has the richest ant fauna, and is home to 85% of the country's species. This is partly attributable to the fact that the Mediterranean features the most diverse ant fauna in Europe. In addition, the ant fauna of this region has been investigated more thoroughly than ants the rest of the country. Typical Mediterranean species found in the Coastal region include: Proceratium algiricum, most Aphaenogaster species, Messor wasmanni, Myrmoxenus corsicus, M. kraussei, Pyramica spp., Temnothorax algiricus, T. angustulus, T. exilis, T. rottenbergii, Tetramorium diomedeum, Tapinoma nigerrimum, Lasius lasioides, and Lepisiota spp. The ant fauna of the Croatian interior resembles that in Central European countries. The Mountainous region represents a refuge for species more typical of Northern Europe and higher-altitud Central Europe. Species of the Mountainous Region include Leptothorax acervorum, L. muscorum, Myrmica lobicornis, M. sulcinodis, Camponotus herculeanus, Formica lemani, F. lugubris. The most common ant species found throughout Croatia are Solenopsis fugax, Tetramorium caespitum, Tapinoma erraticum, Formica cunicularia, Lasius emarginatus, L. fuliginosus. Two of the listed species, Monomorium pharaonis and Paratrechina vividula, have been introduced.

Gregor Bračko
Croatia Ant Curator
Download Gregor's 2006 Review of the ant fauna (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of Croatia (Acta Entomologica Slovenica 14: 131-156)