The Argentine Ant: An Invasive Species

A worldwide army of unstoppable clones has already taken over.
The Argentine ant is one of the planet’s worst invasive species, with colonies on every continent except Antarctica they are almost unstoppable. Discovered in New Zealand in the early nineties, these aggressive ants have found their way around the world by nesting in cargo on ships.
While feasting on meats, sweets, and cooking oil, the Argentine ant can also survive on a diet of whatever is available. Small enough to fit through holes only 1 mm in diameter, they can build their nests anywhere: piles of leaves, human belongings, even small cracks in concrete walls.
Strangely, these ants are highly cooperative. Argentine ants from very different geographic locations will not fight when introduced to each other the way other species of ants do. This appears to be related to a lack of genetic diversity in the introduced ant populations. Simply put, they are all related. Ants in California, Spain, and Japan all share genetic markers showing that they are closely related.
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The Argentine ant will disperse other ant colonies, many native species have been disappearing all around the world. When encountering the Pogonomyrmex Harvester ant, the Argentine ant responds to its size by attacking it like a pack of wolves.
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Argentine ants do not have the digging ability to tunnel deep into the ground, which, in their native environment, limits colony size. However, in their introduced range, they commonly take over abandoned larger nests built by other ant species. Since each colony supports multiple queens, Argentine ants are much more difficult to eradicate than other species. They are also resistant to most common ant poisons.
A worldwide army of unstoppable clones has already taken over. Luckily for humans, their bites are not poisonous.
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  • Anne B.
    4 July 2015 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    Eurgh, now I feel like there are bugs crawling on me. GROSS!