Turkish Journal of Zoology




Red wood ants (RWA, Formica rufa group) play a key role in forest ecosystems as effective entomophages and participants in the circulation of organic matter. The aim of our study was to evaluate the efficiency of using the highway method to accelerate the growth of anthills, specifically focusing on height, diameter, volume. The study was conducted in Kyiv, Ukraine, from May to October 2023. In the experimental group, highways were constructed on ant trails, totalling nine Formica polyctena Forster, 1850 anthills and eight Formica rufa Linnaeus, 1761 anthills. These highways consisted of a continuous line of logs ranging from 10 to 15 cm in diameter. The control group consisted of 11 F. polyctena anthills and eight F. rufa anthills, with all trails running along the forest floor surface. Height and diameter measurements were conducted monthly, and anthill volumes were calculated during data processing. Analysis of anthill linear parameters revealed a significant acceleration of growth in the experimental group. The average anthill diameter, height, and volume for both ant species in the experimental group (12 cm height, 24 cm diameter for F. rufa and 29 cm diameter, 9 cm height for F. polyctena per season) exceeded those of the control group, where either no increase or a decrease in anthill size was observed (p ≤ 0.01–0.0001). The increase in anthill volume within the experimental group, compared to the control group, from May 2023 to September 2023 was twice as large for both species (p ≤ 0.02–0.005). These findings confirm the efficiency of the highway method in stimulating growth of red wood ant anthills. Accelerated anthill growth can help maintain ant populations in forest ecosystems, which is important for maintaining biodiversity and stability within these ecosystems.


Formica polyctena, Formica rufa, growth, highways, Red wood ants, trails

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