Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Ant diversity under three coverages in a Neotropical coffee landscape


plantation agroecosystems
associated diversity
coffee growing
agroecosistemas de plantaciones
diversidad asociada
cultivo de café

How to Cite

García-Cárdenas, R., Montoya-Lerma, J., & Armbrecht, I. (2018). Ant diversity under three coverages in a Neotropical coffee landscape. Revista De Biología Tropical, 66(4), 1373–1389.


The coffee cultivation has displaced natural vegetation and its associated biological diversity. The present study describes the diversity of ground-dwelling ants on eight plantations where coffee is grown in the shade (SHD), eight plantations where coffee is grown under unshaded coffee (SUN) and four patches of forest (FOS) in a coffee-growing region of Colombia. The research was conducted in transects composed of 12 sampling stations, each of which employed active collection, pitfall traps and litter sifting. Nine habitat variables were analyzed to characterize each site, and these values were related to the diversity of ants and functional groups. A total of 92 morphospecies were collected. Myrmicinae was the subfamily with the highest representation. The sample coverage presented a deficit of less than 5 %. The rank abundance curves exhibited differences in the ant assemblages. The ant communities found in the forest exhibited greater diversity and a larger number of exclusive species than the communities found in locations of other land uses; the SHD and SUN communities were characterized by 80.3 % and 62.3 %, respectively, of the diversity found in the forest communities. The functional similarity index as adapted for guilds by Sørensen reveals a high degree of similarity in the structure of their ant communities, but less so in their composition. The shaded coffee plantations have a richer and more equitable ant fauna than the exposed coffee plantations, reinforcing the idea that shade cultivation favors the establishment of ant fauna and, consequently, ecological functionality.

The shaded coffee plantations have a richer and more equitable ant fauna than the exposed coffee plantations, reinforcing the idea that shade cultivation favors the establishment of ant fauna and, consequently, ecological functionality.


Alonso, L. E., & Agosti, D. (2000). Biodiversity studies, monitoring and ants: an overview. In D. Agosti, J. D. Majer, L. E. Alonso, & T. R. Schultz (Eds.), Ants. Standard methods for measuring and monitoring biodiversity (pp. 1-8). Washington, D.C., USA: Smithsonian Institution Press.

Andersen, A. N. (1997). Functional groups and patterns of organization in North American ant communities: a comparison with Australia. Journal of Biogeography, 24, 433-460.

Armbrecht, I., Rivera, L., & Perfecto, I. (2005). Reduced diversity and complexity in the leaf-litter ant assemblage of Colombian coffee plantations. Conservation Biology, 19, 897-907.

Armbrecht, I. (2003). Habitat changes in Colombian coffee farms under increasing management intensification. Endangered Species Update, 20(4-5), 163-178.

Armbrecht, I., & Perfecto, I. (2003). Litter-twig dwelling ant species richness and predation potential within a forest fragment and neighboring coffee plantations of contrasting habitat quality in Mexico. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 97(1), 107-115.

Cepeda-Valencia, J., Pérez -Pedraza, L., & Fernández, F. (2014). Hormigas de hojarasca asociadas a fragmentos de bosque y cafetales de la zona cafetera de Cundinamarca, 171 registros. Retrieved from r=unal-002

Chao, A., Gotelli, N. J., Hsieh, T. C., Sander, E. L., Ma, K. H., Colwell, R. K., & Ellison, A. M. (2014). Rarefaction and extrapolation with Hill numbers: a framework for sampling and estimation in species diversity studies. Ecological Monographs, 84(1), 45-67.

Chao, A. & Jost, L. (2012). Coverage‐based rarefaction and extrapolation: standardizing samples by completeness rather than size. Ecology, 93(12), 2533-2547.

Clarke, K. R., & Gorley, R. N. (2006). PRIMER V6: user manual-tutorial. Plymouth, England: Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

Cumming, G., Fidler, F., & Vaux, D. L. (2007). Error bars in experimental biology. The Journal of Cell Biology, 177(1), 7-11.

Delabie, J. H., Agosti, D., & Nascimento, I. D. (2000). Litter ant communities of the Brazilian Atlantic rain forest region. Sampling Ground-dwelling Ants: case studies from the world’s rain forests. Curtin University of Technology School of Environmental Biology Bulletin, (18).

Della Lucia, T. M. C. (2011). Formigas-cortadeiras: da bioecologia ao manejo. Viçosa, Brazil: Universidade Federal de Viçosa Editora.

Dias, N. D. S., Zanetti, R., Santos, M. S., Peñaflor, M. F. G. V., Broglio, S. M. F., Delabie, J. H. C., & Scharf, I. (2013). The impact of coffee and pasture agriculture on predatory and omnivorous leaf-litter ants. Journal of Insect Science, 13(1), 29.

Dirzo, R., Young, H. S., Galetti, M., Ceballos, G., Isaac, N. J., & Collen, B. (2014). Defaunation in the Anthropocene. Science, 345(6195), 401-406.

Espinal, L. S. (1967). Apuntes sobre ecología colombiana. Cali, Colombia: Departamento de Biología, Universidad del Valle.

Etter, A., & van Wyngaarden, W. (2000). Patterns of landscape transformation in Colombia, with emphasis in the Andean region. Ambio: A journal of the Human Environment, 29(7), 432-439.

Farji-Brener, A. G., & Illes, A. E. (2000). Do leaf-cutting ant nests make" bottom-up" gaps in neotropical rain forests?: a critical review of the evidence. Ecology Letters, 3, 219-227.

Federación Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC). (2010). La tierra del café. Recuperado de

Federación Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC). (2011). Informe de gestión, Comité departamental de cafeteros del Cauca. Recuperado de

Fernández, F. C. (1991). Las hormigas cazadoras del género Ectatomma (Formicidae: Ponerinae) en Colombia. Caldasia, 16(79), 551-564.

Fernández, F. (2003). Introducción a las hormigas de la región neotropical. Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt.

Fernández, F., & Sendoya, S. (2004). List of Neotropical ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Revista Biota Colombiana, 5(1), 3-93.

Ropero, M. C., & Armbrecht, I. (2005). Depredación por hormigas sobre la broca del café Hypothenemus hampei (Curculionidae: Scolytinae) en cafetales cultivados bajo dos niveles de sombra en ColombiaAnt predation of the coffee berry borer Hypothenemus hampei (Curculionidae: Scolytinae) under two shade levels in Colombia. Manejo Integrado de Plagas y Agroecología, 76, 32-40.

García, R., Zabala, G., & Botero, J. E. (2008). Hormigas cazadoras en paisajes cafeteros de Colombia. En E. Jiménez, F. Fernández, T. M. Arias, & F. H. Lozano-Zambrano (Eds.), Sistemática, biogeografía y conservación de las hormigas cazadoras de Colombia (pp. 461-478). Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto de investigación de Recursos biológicos Alexander von Humboldt.

García Martínez, M. A., Martínez Tlapa, D. L., Toledo, G. R. P., Quiroz Robledo, L. N., Castaño Meneses, … Valenzuela González, J. E. (2015). Taxonomic, species and functional group diversity of ants in a tropical anthropogenic landscape. Tropical Conservation Science, 8(4), 1017-1032.

Guhl, A. (2004). Café y cambio de paisaje en la zona cafetera colombiana entre 1970 y 1997. Cenicafé, 55(1), 29-44.

Hölldobler, B., & Wilson, E. O. (2010). The leafcutter ants: civilization by instinct. New York, USA: WW Norton & Company.

Jha, S., Bacon, C. M., Philpott, S. M., Ernesto Mendez, V., Läderach, P., & Rice, R. A. (2014). Shade coffee: update on a disappearing refuge for biodiversity. BioScience, 64(5), 416-428.

Jiménez, E., García-Cárdenas, R., Escobar-Ramírez, S., Armbrecht, I. & Montoya, J. (2016). Hormigas en cafetales con diferente intensidad de manejo en el departamento del Cauca. Recuperado de r=hormigas-cafetales-cauca

Jiménez, E., Lozano-Zambrano, F., & Álvarez-Saa, G. (2008). Diversidad alfa (α) y beta (β) de hormigas cazadoras de suelo en tres paisajes ganaderos de los andes centrales de Colombia. En E. Jiménez, F. Fernández, T. M. Arias, & F. H. Lozano-Zambrano (Eds.), Sistemática, biogeografía y conservación de las hormigas cazadoras de Colombia (pp. 439-459). Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos biológicos Alexander von Humboldt.

Jost, L. (2006). Entropy and diversity. Oikos, 113, 363-375.

Jost, L. (2007). Partitioning diversity into independent alpha and beta components. Ecology, 88, 2427-2439.

Jost, L. (2010). The relation between evenness and diversity. Diversity, 2, 207-232.

Lachaud, J. P., Valenzuela, J., Corbara, B., & Dejean, A. (1990). La predation chez Ectatomma ruidum: Etude de quelques parametres environnementaux. Actes des Colleques Insectes Sociaux, 6, 151-155.

Leal, I. R., Wirth, R., & Tabarelli, M. (2014). The multiple impacts of leaf‐cutting ants and their novel ecological role in human‐modified neotropical forests. Biotropica, 46(5), 516-528.

Lyal, C. H., & Weitzman, A. L. (2004). Taxonomy: exploring the impediment. Science, 305(5687), 1106-1106.

Majer, J. D., & Delabie, J. H. C. (1999). Impact of tree isolation on arboreal and ground ant communities in cleared pasture in the Atlantic rain forest region of Bahia, Brazil. Insectes Sociaux, 46(3), 281-290.

Mehdiabadi, N. J., & Schultz, T. R. (2010). Natural history and phylogeny of the fungus-farming ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Myrmicinae: Attini). Myrmecoly News, 13, 37-55.

Mera-Velasco, Y. A., Gallego-Ropero, M. C., & Armbrecht, I. (2010). Asociaciones entre hormigas y otros insectos en follaje de cafetales de sol y sombra, Cauca Colombia. Revista Colombiana de Entomología, 36(1), 116-126.

Meyer, S. T., Leal, I. R., Tabarelli, M., & Wirth, R. (2011). Ecosystem engineering by leaf‐cutting ants: nests of Atta cephalotes drastically alter forest structure and microclimate. Ecological Entomology, 36(1), 14-24.

Montoya-Lerma, J., Giraldo-Echeverri, C., Armbrecht, I., Farji-Brener, A., & Calle, Z. (2012). Leaf-cutting ants revisited: towards rational management and control. International Journal of Pest Management, 58(3), 225-247.

Pacheco, R., Vasconcelos, H. L., Groc, S., Camacho, G. P., & Frizzo, T. L. (2013). The importance of remnants of natural vegetation for maintaining ant diversity in Brazilian agricultural landscapes. Biodiversity and Conservation, 22(4), 983-997.

Perfecto, I., & Vandermeer, J. (2002). Quality of agroecological matrix in a tropical montane landscape: ants in coffee plantations in southern Mexico. Conservation Biology, 16(1), 174-182.

Perfecto, I., & Vandermeer, J. (2015). Coffee Agroecology: A new approach to understanding agricultural biodiversity, ecosystem services and sustainable development. New York, USA: Routledge.

Perfecto, I., & Armbrecht, I. (2003). Technological change and biodiversity in the coffee agroecosystem of Northern Latin America. Tropical agroecosystems. Florida, USA: CRC Press.

Perfecto, I., Rice, R. A., Greenberg, R., & Van der Voort, M. E. (1996). Shade coffee: a disappearing refuge for biodiversity. BioScience, 46(8), 598-608.

Philpott, S. M., & Dietsch, T. (2003). Coffee and conservation: a global context and the value of farmer involvement. Conservation Biology, 17(6), 1844-1846.

Philpott, S. M., & Foster, P. F. (2005). Nest‐site limitation in coffee agroecosystems: Artificial nests maintain diversity of arboreal ants. Ecological Applications, 15(4), 1478-1485.

Philpott, S. M., & Armbrecht, I. (2006). Biodiversity in tropical agroforests and the ecological role of ants and ant diversity in predatory function. Ecological Entomology, 31(4), 369-377.

Philpott, S., Perfecto, I., & Vandermeer, J. (2006). Effects of management intensity and season on arboreal ant diversity and abundance in coffee agroecosystems. Arthropods Diversity and. Conservation, 1, 125-141.

Philpott, S. M., Arendt, W. J., Armbrecht, I., Bichier, P., Diestch, T. V., Gordon, C.,...Tejeda‐Cruz, C. E. S. A. R. (2008). Biodiversity loss in Latin American coffee landscapes: review of the evidence on ants, birds, and trees. Conservation Biology, 22(5), 1093-1105.

Rivera, L., & Armbrecht, I. (2005). Diversidad de tres gremios de hormigas en cafetales de sombra, de sol y bosques de Risaralda. Revista Colombiana de Entomología, 31(1), 89-96.

R Core Team. (2014). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Vienna, Austria. Retrieved from

Roberts, D. L., Cooper, R. J., & Petit, L. J. (2000). Use of premontane moist forest and shade coffee agroecosystems by army ants in western Panama. Conservation Biology, 14(1), 192-199.

Saad, L. P., Souza-Campana, D. R., Bueno, O. C., & Morini, M. S. C. (2017). Vinasse and its influence on ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) communities in sugarcane crops. Journal of Insect Science, 17(1), 11.

Sánchez-Clavijo, L. M., Duran, S. M., Vélez, J. G., García, R., & Botero, J. E. (2008). Estudios regionales de biodiversidad en las zonas cafeteras de Colombia. Avances Técnicos Cenicafé, 378, 1-8.

Santamaría, C., Armbrecht, I., & Lachaud, J. P. (2009). Nest distribution and food preferences of Ectatomma ruidum (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in shaded and open cattle pastures of Colombia. Sociobiology, 53(2), 517.

Sinisterra, R. M., Gallego-Ropero, M. C., & Armbrecht, I. (2016). Hormigas asociadas a nectarios extraflorales de árboles de dos especies de Inga en cafetales de Cauca, Colombia. Acta Agronómica, 65(1), 9-15.

Silva, R. R. & Brandão, C. R. F. (2010). Morphological patterns and community organization in leaf-litter ant assemblages. Ecological Monographs, 80, 107-124. DOI: 10.1890/08-1298.1

Silvestre, R. (2000). Estrutura de comunidades de formigas do Cerrado (Doctoral dissertation). Universidad de São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.

Silvestre, R., Brandão, C. R. F., & Da Silva, R. R. (2003). Grupos funcionales de hormigas: el caso de los gremios del Cerrado. En F. Fernández (Ed.), Introducción a las hormigas de la región Neotropical (pp. 101-136). Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto Humboldt Bogotá.

Urrutia-Escobar, M. X., & Armbrecht, I. (2013). Effect of two agroecological management strategies on ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) diversity on coffee plantations in southwestern Colombia. Environmental Entomology, 42(2), 194-203.

Vasconcelos, H. L., Vieira-Neto, E. H., Mundim, F. M., & Bruna, E. M. (2006). Roads alter the colonization dynamics of a keystone herbivore in Neotropical savannas. Biotropica, 38(5), 661-665.

Wild, A. L. (2007). Taxonomic revision of the ant genus Linepithema (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Berkeley, USA: University of California Press.

Wilson, E. O. (2003). La hiperdiversidad como fenómeno real: el caso de Pheidole. In F. Fernández (Eds.), Introducción a las hormigas de la región Neotropical (pp. 363-370). Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto Humboldt.

Zabala, G. A., Arango, L. M., & de Ulloa, P. C. (2013). Diversidad de hormigas (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) en un paisaje cafetero de Risaralda, Colombia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) diversity in a coffee landscape of Risaralda, Colombia. Revista Colombiana de Entomología, 39(1), 141.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2018 Revista de Biología Tropical


Download data is not yet available.