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Country: Barrow Island



Subfamilies: 9
Genera: 35
Species/Subspecies: 102
  Endemic: 0
  Introduced: 1

Jonathan Majer, Brian Heterick & Nihara Gunawardene


Contents:

Barrow Island is a 202 km2 island located some 50 km off the north-west Australian coast, with the ports of Onslow and Dampier being the nearest major population centres on the adjoining Australian mainland. The climate on the island is warm to hot, with the highest maxima occurring in January and February (33.2 ̊C and 33.3 ̊C, respectively) and the lowest minima in July and August (17.7 ̊C and 17.8 ̊C, respectively).

The ant fauna is characteristic of the Eremaean Botanical Province of the Pilbara, rather than that of the Carnarvon Basin from which Barrow Island is geologically derived. Ninety-three ant species (79.5% of the total on Barrow Island) are shared with the ant fauna of the Pilbara region on the adjoining mainland, but only 52 species (44.4% of the total) are shared with the ant fauna of the Carnarvon Basin. The island is very rich in unspecialised and thermophilic ant species. Five such genera, i.e., Iridomyrmex (14 spp.), Monomorium (13 spp.), Polyrhachis (12 spp.), Melophorus (10 spp.), and Camponotus (nine spp.) make up almost 50% (i.e., 49.6%) of the island?s ant fauna. Very few ants appear to be endemic to Barrow Island. The relative proportions of the two major subfamilies (Formicinae and Myrmicinae, together comprising 61.5% of the total ant richness) are similar to the proportions found in the South-west Botanical Division for these two subfamilies (i.e., 65.9%), with Barrow Island having a slightly lower ratio of formicines to myrmicines than is found in the south-west of the state.


Author:

Jonathan Majer, Brian Heterick & Nihara Gunawardene