Hunting ants are predators of organisms belonging to different trophic levels. Their presence, abundance, and diversity may reflect the diversity of other ants and contribute to evaluate habitat conditions. Between 2003 and 2005 the restoration of seven corridors in an Andean rural landscape of Colombia was performed. The restoration took place in lands that were formerly either forestry plantations or pasturelands. To evaluate restoration progress, hunting ants were intensely sampled for 7 yr, using sifted leaf litter and mini-Winkler, and pitfall traps in 21 plots classified into five vegetation types: forests, riparian forests, two types of restored corridors, and pasturelands. The ant communities were faithful to their habitat over time, and the main differences in ant composition, abundance, and richness were due to differences among land use types. The forests and riparian forests support 45% of the species in the landscape while the restored corridors contain between 8.3–25%. The change from forest to pasturelands represents a loss of 80% of the species. Ant composition in restored corridors was significantly different than in forests but restored corridors of soil of forestry plantations retained 16.7% more species than restored corridors from pasturelands. Ubiquitous hunting ants, Hypoponera opacior (Forel) and Gnamptogenys ca andina were usually associated with pastures and dominate restored corridors. Other cryptic, small, and specialized hunting ants are not present in the restored corridors. Results suggest that the history of land use is important for the biodiversity of hunting ants but also that corridors have not yet effectively contributed toward conservation goals.
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Vol. 44 • No. 5