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Keywords:

  • Attini;
  • climate change;
  • El Niño;
  • ENSO;
  • global warming;
  • La Niña;
  • nest architecture;
  • Pinus palustris;
  • Quercus laevis;
  • water table

Abstract.  1. Insects are known to be influenced by global climate change, especially by drought and increased temperatures.

2. Although ants are widely regarded to be indicator or keystone species and ecosystem engineers, we do not know how ants may respond to global climate change.

3. This study reports the range contraction of an extremely abundant fungus-gardening ant (Trachymyrmex septentrionalis) over a 3-year period that coincided with the end of a record drought in southeastern North America.

4. Reduction in nest number appears to be the result of an increase in water-table levels and decrease in soil aridity.

5. Therefore T. septentrionalis should be expected to increase its abundance and presumably its ecological impact during multiyear droughts.