We examined the role of cattle grazing, plants, and soil attributes on species richness, abundance, and composition of ground-dwelling ants in northern California serpentine and nonserpentine grasslands. In addition, we analyzed the relationship between three numerically dominant ant species and overall ant species richness and abundance. We used pitfall traps to collect worker ants at 80 sites over a 2-wk period in May 2002. Twenty species of ants were identified from a total of 5,149 worker ants; 80% of all individuals belonged to three dominant species: Messor andrei (Mayr), Pheidole californica Mayr, and Solenopsis xyloni McCook. Ant species richness was negatively affected by grazing on nonserpentine soils only. In general, soil chemistry and texture formed the most consistent associations with the ant community. Plants were less important than soil attributes in explaining variation in overall ant species richness and abundance, but the abundance of the three dominant ant species was significantly correlated with plant biomass or plant richness. Based on logistic regression analysis, the presence or absence of each dominant ant species was negatively correlated with the abundance of the other two dominants. However, the three numerically dominant ant species did not correlate with overall ant species richness or abundance.
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