First ever survey of ants underway in Kerala forests
In spite of being the most diverse organisms on earth, ants remain the most poorly studied species. A group of researchers and nature enthusiasts in Kerala are trying to make it up.
The researchers, along with Travancore Natural History Society and forest officials have begun a survey of the various species of ants found in the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
"In India, we have 850 species (of ants identified) so far and there are hundreds more to be discovered," says Gaurav, a researcher from Tata Institue of Fundamental Research.
"We are trying to identify species that are not documented so far. After the exercise, we will prepare a checklist," said Joshi Sebastian, Research Range Officer.
We are trying to identify species that are not documented so far. After the exercise, we will prepare a checklist: Joshi Sebastian,
Ants are ecologically significant and play a positive role in many ecosystems. They contribute immensely to physical and chemical soil properties, plant and animal distribution and forest health. The research team comprising 30 members, are trained in methods of finding ant colonies and collection techniques by experts during a symposium held at Vallakkadavu for the first time in Kerala.
The main objective of the study is to identify as many species as possible, habitat preferences of ants and the way the insects serve the ecology. After a year-long study, a detailed report would be prepared by the team.