Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Lady is a Tramp

Some species of globe-trotting ants known as tramp ants are considered invasive and can have drastic effects on their new home, displacing many native species and disrupting entire ecosystems. “Among the worst of these invaders are the Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta), the Argentine Ant ( Linepithema humile), the Big-Headed Ant (Pheidole megacephala), and the Little Fire Ant (Wasmannia auropunctata)” (Myrmecosis, 2009). There are several other species of tramp ants which are described here.

These ants are transferred across biogeographic barriers through human activity. These invaders not only disrupt native flora and fauna, they can also change their own life history. These ants can have increased queen numbers and lose their colony boundaries (Heinz, et al., 2006). New colony structure allows for population increases and enhances their competitive abilities.

To read more about the colony structure and reproduction of one tramp species, Cardiocondyla; go to this link or research others via our Searchwise electronic resource. (Remember you may have to be logged in the FAU network for the article link to work).

Side note:
Myremecology is the scientific study of ants. Many of our students focus on ants for their thesis, due largely to our resident myrmecologist Dr. Wetterer (here's a shout out Doc!). Did you know many of the student theses are online? There is a list here. You can access the electronic versions of complete student and faculty theses and dissertations here.


J. Heinze, S. Cremer, N. Eckl and A. Schrempf , 2006 Stealthy invaders: the biology of Cardiocondyla tramp ants.  Insectes Sociaux, Volume 53, Number 1, Pages 1-7.

Image credit: wikipedia

1 comment:

  1. one of our readers emailed me and asked why I didn't mention another great myrmecologist E.O.Wilson! Well, miss Denise, my ant guy studied with your ant guy at Harvard so they are sort of the same! But here is another shout out to to Mr. Wilson! Thanks for reading our science blog!