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Seen Any Ants - A Renewed Appeal

If your interest is bees, dragonflies, beetles, ants or indeed any other type of insect chat about them, ask questions and share your images here.
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MisterT
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Seen Any Ants - A Renewed Appeal

Post by MisterT » 22 May 2013, 16:56

Please note that all previous posts relating “Seen Any Ants” can be found at Seen Any Ants - Previous Posts

With the weather slowly improving, it is once again that time of year when we all start thinking of getting “out and about” around these beautiful islands. If, like me, you are one of those people, can I ask you once again to keep an eye out for ants!

This renewed appeal follows on from the success of last year during which I received over 30 samples. As can be seen from the map, these came from a variety of locations spread right across the islands. In all, 3 species of ant were identified, Myrmica ruginodis, Myrmica scabrinodis, and Leptothorax acervorum (The Slender Ant).

Myrmica ruginodis, (blue on the map), although a common ant, there were only a few records for the Western Isles prior to 2012. Two specimens of Myrmica scabrinodis (yellow) were found, one in Lochmaddy and the other at Askernish. There are a scattering of records for this species here in the Western Isles, the majority being on Berneray and Barra and I believe these records to be the first for North Uist and the second for South Uist. There was only a single specimen of Leptothorax acervorum (red) which was found in Lewis and proved to be a “first” for that island. What made this more interesting was that it was found on its own island, contained within a loch.

At the start of 2012 there were very few records for ants showing their distribution within the Western Isles. Now, as can be seen from the map, there are many more and it is something that we would like to improve upon this year. In addition, there should be some other species to be found. Our expectations were that there would be 4, possibly 6 species here in the islands, so we are hoping that some additional species will be finding their way into collection pots.

Should you at any time on your travels or wanderings through the Outer Hebrides come across any ants, would you please endeavour to collect a few specimens and record a location or map reference. They can be placed in a small phial or container and frozen, and if you contact us here in Askernish on 01878 700849 or email ian.thompson2039@virgin.net
we will be happy to collect them. Should anyone require any phials in advance, we can provide them to anyone who calls.

My thanks go to all those who collected and provided specimens last year and to Rhian for identifying them.

Location and species found in the Western Isles in 2012
Click on map to view interactive map & then click on pins to see more detailed information
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MisterT
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Re: Seen Any Ants - Yes We Have!

Post by MisterT » 10 Dec 2013, 19:52

As the autumn fades and we all head indoors, it is time to correlate and analyse the results of this years records. I received 29 ant samples from 27 sites in 2013 and have sent them all to Rhian, who has once again identified them. This year, the 27 sample sites ranged from Eriskay to South Uist, Harris, Lewis and even The Shants!

Of the 29 samples, 27 were Myrmica ruginodis (yellow on the map), which would seem to be the most common ant on our islands. The other 2 were Myrmica scabrinodis (red on the map), one being found in North Harris, the other in Lewis. Although Myrmica scabrinodis is a common ant on the mainland, there are but a few recent records in the Outer Hebrides, especially from Harris and Lewis.

Over the past 2 years, a total of 62 specimens from 59 sites have been collected, identified and recorded via the Outer Hebrides Biological Recording (OHBR) database. Through this effort, we have a much better idea about the distribution of Myrmica ruginodis within our islands, but records for other species are few and far between. Only 2 other species have been identified, Myrmica scabrinodis from 3 sites and a single Slender Ant, Leptothorax acervorum from an island in a small loch on Harris.

With the continuing co-operation of Rhian and with your help, I hope to continue the search next year for more ant species and improve our understanding of the distribution of those already identified.

My thanks go to all those who took the time to collect specimens this year and to Rhian for identifying them.

Location and species found in the Western Isles in 2013
Click on map to view interactive map & then click on pins to see more detailed information
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