Unique information on Belgian ants compiled and published through FORMIDABEL data paper

June 6, 2013
This image shows the ant species Temnothorax unifasciatus. Credit: Polyergus; Bert Van Der Krieken

A new peer reviewed data paper describes a unique database spanning the full range of indigenous and exotic ants occurring in Belgium. The paper, published in the open access journal Zookeys analyses the history, content and use of the FORMIDABEL database, which includes more than 27,000 records.

The paper uses a new pattern of citing the data resource, aimed at bringing additional credit to the authors and their institutions (see Resource Citation below).

This image shows Formica rufibarbis. Credit: Polyergus; Gilbert Loos

FORMIDABEL is a collaboration between the Flemish working group "Polyergus" and the Wallonian ants working group "FourmisWalBru". The original database was created in 2002 in the context of the preliminary red data book of Flemish ants and data from the Southern part of Belgium (Wallonia and Brussels) were added in 2005. In 2012 this was again updated for the creation of the first Belgian Ants Atlas. The main purpose of this atlas was to generate maps for all outdoor-living in Belgium using an overlay of the standard used Belgian ecoregions. By using this overlay for most species a restricted distribution pattern in Belgium can be observed, mainly based on existing vegetation and soil types. The digital version of the Belgian Ant Atlas is published on http://www.formicidae-atlas.be.

This image shows the occurrences of Formica rufibarbis and Temnothorax unifasciatus on the atlas search page of the FORMIDABEL data portal (www.formicidae-atlas.be). Credit: FORMIDABEL

The records featured in FORMIDABEL originate from a wide range of sources including collections, field sampling and literature. The oldest occurrences date back as far as May 1866, while the most recent are from August 2012. FORMIDABEL is a work in progress and the database is updated twice a year to provide up to date information on the ant in Belgium.

Explore further: New tool for visualizing the distribution of vascular plants in Belgium

More information: Brosens D, Vankerkhoven F, Ignace D, Wegnez P, Noй N, Heughebaert A, Bortels J, Dekoninck W (2013) FORMIDABEL; The Belgian Ants Database. ZooKeys 306: 59, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.306.4898

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