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

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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).

FORMIDABEL is a collaboration between the Flemish ants 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 dataset 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 ant species 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.

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 fauna in Belgium.


The latest version of the dataset is publicly and freely accessible through this url: http://ipt.biodiversity.be/resource.do?r=formidabel.

The dataset is also retrievable via the GBIF data portal through this link: http://data.gbif.org/datasets/resource/14697
A dedicated geo-portal, developed by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform is accessible at: http://www.formicidae-atlas.be

Resource citation:

Polyergus Working Group and FourmisWalBru Working Group (2013 -). FORMIDABEL: The Belgian Ants Database, 27264 records. Contributed by Brosens D, Vankerkhoven F, Ignace D, Wegnez P, Noé N, Heughebaert A, Bortels J and W Dekoninck. Online at http://ipt.biodiversity.be/resource.do?r=formidabel and, http://www.formicidae-atlas.be, Version 1.0 (last updated on 2013-04-19), GBIF key: http://gbrds.gbif.org/browse/agent?uuid=b528799a-2d52-4023-aa02-9ce081e3ca5f. Data Paper ID: doi: 10.3897/zookeys.306.4898

Original Source:

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

Additional Information:

What is a Data Paper?

A Data Paper is a scholarly journal publication whose primary purpose is to describe a dataset or a group of datasets, rather than to report a research investigation. As such, it contains facts about data, not hypotheses and arguments in support of those hypotheses based upon data, as found in a conventional research article. Its purposes are three-fold:

  • to provide a citable journal publication that brings scholarly credit to data publishers;
  • to describe the data in a structured human-readable form;
  • to bring the existence of the data to the attention of the scholarly community.
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