In this study, we use 12 months of data from 11 ant assemblages to test whether seasonal variation in ant diversity is governed by either the structuring influences of interspecific competition or environmental conditions. Because the importance of competition might vary along environmental gradients, we also test whether the signature of competition depends on elevation. We find little evidence that competition structures the seasonal patterns of activity in the ant assemblages considered, but find support for the effects of temperature on seasonal patterns of diversity, especially at low-elevation sites. Although, in general, both competition and the environment interact to structure ant assemblages, our results suggest that environmental conditions are the primary force structuring the seasonal activity of the ant assemblages studied here. ?? 2007 The Linnean Society of London.