The Ants of China

Aenictus laeviceps

Benoit Guenárd and Rob Dunn have combed the technical literature to make a list of all the ant species known from China (pdf):

China is one of the largest countries in the world and offers an incredible diversity of ecosystems and species. However the distribution of many insect species in China is still poorly known. Here, through a bibliographical review, we synthesize a species list of native and exotic ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) for 23 provinces of the People’s Republic of China  and eight surrounding regions. To date, no fewer than 939 valid named species and subspecies within 103 genera are listed from China. However, comparisons with other regions suggest that this list is still incomplete at both provincial and national scales based on the diversity of surrounding regions and the number of undescribed species reported in the literature. Although the species list generated here is not and cannot be exhaustive, we hope that it will facilitate future discovery, revision and conservation of Chinese ants.

The list comes in just shy of 1,000 species, which is surely a gross underestimate given the immense size of China and the diversity of habitats. I’d bet a final accounting will amount to more than twice that.

Plus, hooray for open access! You don’t need a subscription to read the paper.

source: Guenárd, B., Dunn, R. R. 2012. A Checklist of the Ants of China. Zootaxa 3558: 1-77.