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A preliminary species checklist of the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of
Kakamega Forest, Western Kenya, is presented. The species list is based on specimens sampled from 1999 until 2009, which are deposited in the ant collection of the Zoological Research Museum Koenig, Bonn, Germany, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, United States. The known ant fauna comprises 11 subfamilies with 52 genera and 288 species. This species richness is the second highest reported from the Afrotropical zoogeographical region. The observed ant fauna can be divided into a group of forest habitat species with approximately 180 species and another group, which consists of about 100 species, of open habitat specialists. The greatest part of the ant fauna (204 species or 71%) could be identified to species level but the rest remains unidentifiable or undescribed (84 species or 29%). The preliminary data from the observed ant fauna seems to support the hypothesis that Kakamega Forest is the eastern-most remnant of the former Guineo-Congolian rain forest belt, while the zoogeographical influence from East African Afromontane forests seems to be less significant.
Keywords: ant inventory; Guineo-Congolian; Kakamega Forest; species