The native range of the Argentine Ant was very small – around major waterways in the lowland areas of the Paraná River. However, through international trade, the insect is now present in at least 15 countries on six continents and many oceanic islands.
Argentine Ant Behavior
They have been extraordinarily successful in spreading 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 new range, their genetic makeup is extremely uniform meaning that individuals from one nest can mingle in a neighboring nest without engaging in a war. Thus, they are able to form new supercolonies.
These super colonies have an extraordinary social organization. In fact, individuals actually mix freely among physically separated nests. Certainly, this type of social organization is a key attribute responsible for the ecological domination of these amazing insects.
Argentine Ant Global Civilization
In 2009, it was discovered that ants from three Argentine Ant supercolonies 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.
Six thousand kilometers for a single colony. This is more than the distance between Miami and Seattle, or double the distance between Istanbul and Barcelona. Take a moment to appreciate this.
Another super colony was the “Californian large”, stretching 560 mi (900 km) along the coast of California. The third was on the west coast of Japan.
When individuals from one nest reached 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. Therefore, based on this behavior, researchers determined that these supercolonies actually form a single global society.
This makes the Argentine Ant the only known species, aside from humans, to have a global civilization. Why would nature create us this way? Impressive.The Argentine Ant is the only known species, aside from humans, to have a global civilizationClick To Tweet