Argentine Ant

Argentine Ant

Source: http://bit.ly/1myxBPE

 

The Argentine Ant is a dark ant endemic to South America, that has become an invasive species in many parts of the world. The native range of the Argentine Ant was highly limited. They were originally found only around major waterways in the lowland areas of the Paraná River. However, they have now been spread to many parts of the world. This has occurred via human commerce. The species has become established in at least 15 countries. They are now found throughout the world, on six continents,  and many oceanic islands.

 

Argentine Ant

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Argentine Ant Behavior

They have been extraordinarily successful in spreading.  This is partly because different nests of the introduced Argentine Ant seldom attack or compete with each other. This is completely unlike most other species of ant. In their introduced range, their genetic makeup is extremely uniform. This means that individuals from one nest can mingle in a neighboring nest without being attacked. Thus, in most of their introduced range, they form super colonies.

These super colonies have an extraordinary social organization. Individuals actually mix freely among physically separated nests. This type of social organization is a key attribute responsible for the ecological domination of these extraordinary insects.

 

Argentine Ant

Source: http://bit.ly/1iYUrrc Photographer: Benoit Guenard

Argentine Ant Global Civilization

In 2009, it was discovered that ants from three Argentine Ant super colonies in America, Europe, and Japan, were genetically related. One of these colonies was in Europe, stretching 3,700 mi (6,000 km) along the Mediterranean coast. Another was the “Californian large” colony, stretching 560 mi (900 km) along the coast of California. The third was on the west coast of Japan.

When individuals from one nest were transported to another nest, they simply resumed their usual roles, in the new nest. In every other known species of ant, the newcomers would have been immediately destroyed. Based on this behavior, researchers determined that these super colonies actually form a single global society. This makes the Argentine Ant the only known species, aside from humans, to have a global civilization.

#ourbreathingplanet

Todd Sain Sr.

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