An Ant That Is Native To Africa Is Preparing For Global Domination

An Ant That Is Native To Africa Is Preparing For Global Domination

Scientists have documented thousands of different invasive insect species. Invasive insects are insects that inhabit and damage ecosystems where they are not native. Understandably, invasive insects are quite damaging to the natural environment. Invasive insects are typically free to reproduce at unchecked rates while destroying native arthropod and plant life. The growth of invasive insect populations is almost never hindered by their natural predators as none can be found in foreign regions where invasive insects are active. Invasive insects can be thought of as rude houseguests that deplete your food supply while not contributing to the well being of you or your home. Basically, there is nothing beneficial about invasive insects unless an invasive species is successfully used to control populations of other invasive species that are even more damaging to foreign environments. However, in the past, such methods of pest control have led to more problems than solutions, which should not be hard to believe. Given the modern environmental threats and hazards that are currently damaging many of earth’s ecosystems, the last thing that the world needs today is yet another environmentally devastating invasive insect species. Unfortunately, many researchers have good reason to believe that a new invasive species will dominate most of the globe in the near future.

A species of ant that is native to the forests of Ethiopia is preparing to invade regions of the world where they are not native. This ant species may become one of the most damaging invasive insect species that has ever existed. According to D. Magdalena Sorger, a postdoctoral researcher at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, a particular species of ant is showing signs of supercolony formation, which indicates that a species is broadening its habitat into environments where it is not native. The species of ant that may become our future overlords is referred to as Lepisiota canescens.

Supercolonies are not your typical ant colonies. Normal ant colonies only contain one single species of ant, and foreign ants are typically met with hostility. Also, ant colonies contain one single queen. More than one queen would lead to power grabs and subsequent anarchy within a colony. However, supercolonies consist of multiple ant species being ruled by multiple queens. Supercolonies contain millions of different ants that progressively increase their habitats into non-native regions. Once supercolonies reach foreign ecosystems, they begin to displace essential native insect species. This can sometimes lead to the extinction of certain insects. More than anything, however, supercolonies in non-native environments greatly damage a region's ecosystem by depleting essential insect, arachnid and/or plant species. Soon these invasive ants could hitch rides to other countries on humans. Once a few reproductive Lepisiota canescens ants arrive within a non-native environment, they can begin to form supercolonies.

Have you ever heard of a particular arthropod or plant species becoming extinct as the result of invasive insect feeding?

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