fire ants

Myrmecos

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Fire Ants 1, Australia 0

Have Australians lost their fight against imported fire ants? Despite $215 million being poured into eradication programs nationally, fire ants have claimed territory in an arc from Logan City, between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, to near Grandchester, about 80km west of where the first outbreak was found at the Port of Brisbane in 2001. Authorities…

It’s not easy being queen…

Life is perilous for young ant queens. This fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is being pursued by native Forelius ants after her mating flight in central Florida. She frantically climbs a grass blade to escape, but to no avail- the attackers follow. She will make an excellent source of protein to feed the Forelius larvae. Two…

Meccas for Myrmecology: Mobile, Alabama

The port city of Mobile, Alabama holds special significance for students of ant science.  Jo-anne and I took a weekend trip down to the gulf coast in January, and as we are both myrmecologists we felt compelled to stop and take a few photographs.  Not only is Mobile the childhood home of ant guru E.…

Prevailing wisdom holds that imported fire ants marched across the southern United States on the virtue of their fierce nature and superior competitive ability.  The fire ant conquest of the south reads like a tale of bravery and intrigue, but according to Walt Tschinkel and Josh King it is also not true.   They have a…

  Does ant activity cycle by an internal clock, or is their activity cycle a response to changing environmental cues? A study in Insectes Sociaux weighs in on the side of environment. Penick & Tschinkel experimented with applying light and heat from different directions and at different times of day to fire ant mounds.  It…

The Ants of Paraguay

Paraguay may be the world’s most important country. Never mind that it is economically isolated and geopolitically forgettable. Rather, I measure importance by less trivial metrics, and by that of course I mean ants. Paraguayan ants have changed the world. Many of the world’s worst pest species evolved on the broad plains of the Paraná…