We report on a systematic survey of the ant fauna occurring in hardwood forests in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At 22-mixed hardwood sites, we collected leaf-litter ant species using Winkler samplers. At eight of those sites, we also collected ants using pitfall and Malaise traps. In total, we collected 53 ant species. As shown in other studies, ant species richness tended to decline with increasing elevation. Leaf-litter ant assemblages were also highly nested. Several common species were both locally abundant and had broad distributions, while many other species were rarely detected. Winkler samplers, pitfall traps, and Malaise traps yielded samples that differed in composition, but not richness, from one another. Taken together, our work begins to illuminate the factors that govern the diversity, distribution, abundance, and perhaps rarity of ants of forested ecosystems in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
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Vol. 6 • No. sp2