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The southwest Indian Ocean (SWIO) islands of Madagascar, Comoros, and the Mascarenes contain one of the highest concentrations of endemic and threatened organisms on earth. Their isolation, geographic placement, varied geological histories, and environmental heterogeneity have all contributed to the bounty of endemic species. Today, the SWIO island system offers a unique opportunity to explore mechanisms driving restricted-range species accumulation at regional and local levels.
The SWIO region ranks near the top of virtually every conservation priority list due to extraordinary levels of endemism and high rates of deforestation. The Comoros are under even greater threat from invasive species, deforestation, and urban growth but have not received the same attention from biologists as Madagascar.
In collaboration with the Madagascar Biodiversity Center (MBC) in Antananarivo, Madagascar, the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), University of Guelph, Canada, and the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) in San Francisco, we conducted inventories of the ant fauna of the Comoros and Mayotte providing these results for ongoing systematic and biogeographic studies.While in Mayotte, we benefited from the generous help of Michel Charpentier and Fabien Barthelat of the Naturalistes de Mayotte.
Brian L. Fisher