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Solomons Ants

Eli Sarnat & Evan Economo

The 237 names listed here are a first attempt to organize a modern checklist for the ants of the Solomon Islands. Of these, 215 are valid names that are recorded in the literature or belong to examined specimens. The remaining names are morphocodes that represent a combination of undescribed species new to science, and previously described species whose identities have not yet been confirmed. The list includes approximately 25 species that have likely been introduced to the Solomons by humans. The most destructive introduced species is Wasmannia auropunctata (the Little Fire Ant) which is causing widespread harm to the archipelago’s forest ecosystem and to the quality of life of many of the archipelago's native villagers.

The five islands with the highest number of species records, listed from greatest to least, are: Makira (142 spp.), Guadalcanal (107 spp.), Malaita (71 spp.), Santa Isabel (68 spp.), and Rennell (66 spp.). Fourteen individual islands have occurrence records for between 11?38 species. Thirteen individual islands have occurrence records for between 1?8 species. The ten most widely distributed species, with the number of islands each is reported from, are: Odontomachus simillimus (27), Anoplolepis gracilipes (18), Camponotus bedoti (17), Nylanderia vaga (15), Anochetus graeffei (13), Eurhopalothrix procera (13), Myopopone castanea (13), Oecophylla smaragdina subnitida (13), Pachycondyla stigma (13), Philidris myrmecodiae (13).

The ant fauna of the Solomons is poorly known. Besides Sarnat et. al (2013), the only other major work to date remains W. M. Mann’s (1919) Ants of the British Solomon Islands. Mann's spent six months exploring many of the islands, including Santa Cruz, San Cristoval (Makira),the Three Sisters, Ugi, Russell, Malaita, Florida and Ysabel. Mann reported the occurrence of 136 currently recognized species and subspecies, of which he described 68 from his own collections.

Sarnat, E., Blanchard, B., Guenard, B., Fasi, J. & Economo, E. (2013) Checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) of the Solomon Islands and a new survey of Makira Island. Zookeys, 257, 47-88. | PDF
Updated 28 Feb 2013

Eli Sarnat & Evan Economo

Evan Economo is a biologist with broad interests in the ecology and evolution of biodiversity. Since 2009 he has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Michigan Society of Fellows, and a (non-tenure track) Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan. In June 2012 Evan will be moving to Japan to lead the Biodiversity & Biocomplexity Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology.

Eli Sarnat is a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Andrew Suarez at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an Encyclopedia of Life Rubenstein Fellow. In addition to continuing his work on the systematics, biogeography, and conservation of Pacific ants, he is also developing online identification resources such as PIAkey and Antkey for invasive, introduced and commonly intercepted ants.