We studied responses of ant communities to shrub removal and intense pulse seasonal grazing by domestic livestock for four consecutive years. Weighted relative abundance and percent of traps in which an ant species occurred were analyzed using randomized complete block design, split in time analysis of variance to test for significant differences between means of ant groups. The ant community in the Chihuahuan Desert grassland is dominated by small, liquid-feeding ants, Conomyrma insana (Buckley), and large seed harvesting ants, Pogonomyrmex desertorum Wheeler. The weighted relative abundance of C. insana was significantly reduced on the plots without shrubs. The relative abundance of P. desertorum was significantly lower on grazed plots without shrubs than on the ungrazed plots without shrubs. There were no detectable effects of shrub removal or intense, pulse grazing on the less abundant ant species. These results suggest that the recent encroachment of shrubs into Chihuahuan Desert grasslands has increased the relative abundance of the dominant ant species in these communities. Intensive grazing by livestock has had an adverse effect on the most abundant seed-harvester, P. desertorum.
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