Ants are common in places where people live. Everyone has seen and at least has some casual experience with ants. In many warmer parts of the world ants are much more familiar to local people. They occur in greater abundance and are more often found in homes and other dwellings. Most tropical and subtropical areas also have one or a number of invasive ants, i.e., species of ants that are notable for their ability to become human pests.
Invasive Ant Resources
There are a few excellent web resources that focus on invasive ants.
The best and most comprehensive website about invasive and introduced ants is Antkey.org. The introduction to the site states: "Antkey is a community resource for the identification of invasive, introduced and commonly intercepted ant species from across the globe." There are keys, images, species accounts and more.
The PIA Key is focused on invasive and introduced ants of the Pacific islands. It includes a key and excellent information about the species it covers. Many of the non-native ants in this region have also been transported to other parts of the world.
Invasive Ant Species
(this list is incomplete)
- Anoplolepis gracilipes
- Brachyponera chinensis
- Brachymyrmex patagonicus
- Linepithema humile
- Monomorium pharaonis
- Nylanderia fulva
- Paratrechina longicornis
- Pheidole megacephala
- Solenopsis invicta
- Solenopsis geminata
- Tapinoma melanocephalum
- Trichomyrmex destructor
- Wasmannia auropunctata
A combination of life history traits are seemingly playing a part in how a few invasive ants are able to dominate some areas where they are introduced. Supercoloniality is achieved/defined as a species having many nests, many queens, workers that are able to freely move between nests that can be many kilometers from their own, and this occurs across a large area with the ants achieving very high local abundance. Supercoloniality has been observed in numerous ant species that are invasive pests.
A recent paper by Krapf et al. 2018 examined how unicoloniality may be maintained in the ant, Tetramorium alpestre. This species is known to occur in at least one supercolonial population.
Summary information about recent studies focusing on invasive and introduced ants: Invasive and Introduced Ant Studies.
- Krapf, P., L. Russo, W. Arthofer, M. Most, F. M. Steiner, and B. C. Schlick-Steiner. 2018. An Alpine ant's behavioural polymorphism: monogyny with and without internest aggression in Tetramorium alpestre. Ethology Ecology & Evolution. 30:220-234. doi:10.1080/03949370.2017.1343868
- Talaga, S., J. H. C. Delabie, O. Dezerald, A. Salas-Lopez, F. Petitclerca, C. Leroy, B. Heraultd, R. Cereghino, and A. Dejean. 2015. A bromeliad species reveals invasive ant presence in urban areas of French Guiana. Ecological Indicators. 58:1-7. doi:10.1016/j.ecolind.2015.05.027