The majority of ant diversity studies have been conducted in the tropics, but the number of studies conducted in temperate regions, like the US, is on the rise. Our research measured the richness and diversity of ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in a coastal, temperate forest of Maryland. We collected leaf litter along twenty-four 100-m transects during May, July, and September of 2015 and measured litter depth and mass to determine if there was a relationship with ant abundance (density). We used Berlese funnels to collect 14 ant species (4208 individuals; n = 144 samples). Neither leaf-litter depth nor mass had an impact on ant abundance or species richness. We used aspirators and hand-collection methods to examine arboreal-ant foraging preference on deciduous and coniferous trees. Total species richness for both tree types was 21; we collected 19 species from deciduous trees and 17 from coniferous trees. Four species detected on deciduous trees were not present on conifers, and 2 species from conifers were not observed on deciduous trees. We observed higher abundances on deciduous trees (P = 0.016) and detected a preference for larger trees. We provide suggestions for conservation efforts for the coastal forests of Maryland, and our study contributes to the growing species inventory of ants on Maryland's eastern shore.
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