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Serbia Ants

Ivan Petrov

Ants of Serbia and Montenegro

In 1990, myrmecologists Holldobler and Wilson (1990) observed that “ants are everywhere, but only occasionally noticed.” This tendency may explains why ants did not spark interest among the entomologists of Serbia and Montenegro until the twentieth century. As a result, the myrmecofauna of Serbia and Montenegro remains poorly known, and there is no book on ants in the Serbian language.

Up until the twentieth century no data at all existed on the myrmecofauna of Serbia and Montenegro. Some ant species of Serbia and Montenegro were mentioned in the first few decades that followed, but those species were reported among other species of insects and invertebrates. More recently, Petrov (2000) published a checklist of the ants of Serbia and Montenegro, and review of of the fauna in 2006.

This data suggest that the ant diversity of Serbia and Montenegro is unusually high compared to most countries in the Balkan region. Within the vicinity, the richness of this myrmecofauna is equaled only in Greece, where Legakis (pers. comm.) counts 268 species. This number is greater than anywhere else in Europe save Italy, Baroni-Urbani (1971) registered 225 species.

Cataglyphis aenescens is the most characteristic species in the locality of Deliblatska peščara, where it inhabits semidesert and desert habitats. As these habitat types are disappearing due to natural successions and artificial afforestation, this ant risks becoming (or may have already become) an endangered species in the area.

The great diversity of ant species in this area is surely linked to the impressive habitat diversity. Although the territory of Serbia and Montenegro comprises only 2.1% of European continent territory, they include four types and ten subtypes of climate, three orographic entities, and four pedological regions (with numerous subregions), offering ants a great variety of habitats.

Ivan Petrov
Serbia and Montenegro Ant Curator
Download Petrov's Ants of Serbia