Ground-dwelling ants are active foragers that may extend their foraging area into the vegetation, although the factors affecting their diversity in the suspended litter of understorey plants remain overlooked. To evaluate the influence of the distance between strata, litter biomass and plant size on the ant fauna, the litter ant assemblage of the suspended stratum was compared with the ground immediately below the understorey treelet Erythrochiton brasiliensis (Rutaceae) in an Atlantic Forest, south-eastern Brazil. We collected 1364 ants from 26 ant species. The suspended litter ant assemblage represented a subset of the ground-dwelling ants present in soil litter. The beta diversity results primarily from the high ant species turnover among individual suspended-litter samples, and among ground-litter samples, while species turnover among suspended-ground pairs is lower. Additionally, plant height was not important in determining the species turnover between strata. However, plant height positively correlated with ant species richness, probably because of the increased number of microhabitats. These results suggest that suspended litter in the forest understorey can provide the conditions for ground-dwelling ants to forage and nest, functioning as a vertical extension of resources and microhabitat conditions present in the ground litter.