The ant invasions continue...

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...well, not really.  But an exchange I had at Photo Synthesis with Andrew Bleiman of Zooillogix got me thinking about all the different insects that have charmingly envenomated me at one time or another. Myrmecia piliventris, Australia So I'm starting a meme called Things That Have Stung Me. …
My earlier list of the most-studied ant species contained a few omissions.  Here is a more inclusive list: Ant species sorted by number of BIOSIS-listed publications, 1984-2008 The Top 10 Species Publications Solenopsis invicta 984 Linepithema humile 343 Lasius niger 250 Formica rufa 167 Atta…
Figure 1. For the 32 most-studied ant species, the percentage of publications 1984-2008 in various contexts. In thinking about where the myrmecological community ought to devote resources in the age of genomics, it occcured to me that putting some numbers on where researchers have previously…
Wasmannia auropunctata - little fire ants Buenos Aires, Argentina One of the world's worst invaders, the little fire ants have spread from the new world tropics to warmer regions around the globe, becoming especially problematic on oceanic islands. The ants above, though, are from an innocuous…

"Through their digging, the ants form massive colonies that can destroy crops, damage farms, hasten soil erosion, cause potholes in roads, even damage bridge joints and electrical lines."

Fire ants = apocalypse.

Interesting. S. invicta in Missouri seems further north than I thought they'd like, though they are hardy and seem intent on spreading. Then again, maybe they're moving north to get away from the recently introduced crazy ant species here in Texas (the crazy ants are taking on the fire ants along with everything else--and the crazy ants are pretty much winning all the battles).

And I'd never heard of the little fire ant. Cool. Time to do some research and learn something new...

I first reported fire ants collected from a lawn in the St. Louis area, and brought to me by a landscaper, almost 15 years ago. They were quickly eradicated by our trusty state ag. dept. (I was asked at the time not to mention it to anyone, least of all the press, so I didn't, knowing how "apocalyptic" the reporting would be.). Those two colonies had come in with grass sod brought in from Arkansas.

But, southeastern Missouri has a distincly "Dixie" air and lay of the land about it. The biota contains many species found throughout the Southeastern US, but not elsewhere in Missouri. So it has always seemed to me only a matter of time before fire ants became established there, whether arriving on their own, or aided by human transport.

By James C. Trager (not verified) on 16 Oct 2009 #permalink

"We are the ants. We will assimilate you. Resistance is futile."

I'd take Argentine ants over RIFAs any day.