Ants Engaged In “Epic Battle” In Bermuda

March 6, 2017 | 11 Comments

“For 60+ years, two of the world’s most widespread and destructive invasive ant species” have been “engaged in an epic battle on the islands of Bermuda” as “both species are completely intolerant of the other.”

This is according to a research article in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research by James Kelly Wetterer.

Wetterer said, “For 60+ years, two of the world’s most widespread and destructive invasive ant species, the African big-headed ant [Pheidole megacephala] from tropical Africa and the Argentine ant [Linepithema humile] from subtropical South America, have been engaged in an epic battle on the islands of Bermuda.

“Both species are completely intolerant of the other and are also well-known for killing off native invertebrates, particularly other ants. Here I surveyed sites across Bermuda in 2016, including resurveys of the locations previously surveyed in 1963, 1966, 1973, 1986, and 2002, to provide an update on this conflict.

‘The status of all other ant species present in the islands, including previous records from literature, is also provided. In addition, I surveyed ants nesting in red mangrove [Rhizophora mangle] trees to evaluate whether this arboreal habitat may serve as a refuge for previously overlooked ant species.

“In 2016, I collected a total of 19 ant species in Bermuda, including four recorded for the first time: Cardiocondyla minutior, Pheidole navigans, Strumigenys emmae, and Strumigenys membranifera.These records bring the total number of confirmed ant species records from Bermuda to 25.

“One ant species that is possibly native to Bermuda is the trap-jaw ant Odontomachus ruginodis. This species was once common in Bermuda, but now appears to be quite rare [Haskins and Haskins 1965]. Odontomachus ruginodis is common in South Florida and the West Indies.

“Although it is not known as a tramp species, Deyrup [1992] considered it to be probably exotic to Florida. Genetic analyses could help determine whether Odontomachus ruginodis [or any other ant species] is native or exotic to Bermuda.”

You can read the full article here.

click here Bermuda insects

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Comments (11)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    LOL, I thought all ants were in an epic battle with me!!!

    Like(62)
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    • sage says:

      The Argentinians must have the upper hand because that's all I see, don't think I have seen an African big-headed ant since I was a child. Would have never guessed we have 25 different species here, I only noticed small red ants other than the regulars.

      Like(3)
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  2. inna says:

    Ant problems are probably one of the few things all us Bermudians have in common !!

    Like(16)
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  3. sid says:

    "Completely intolerant of each other" -- that should be Bermuda's motto.

    Like(36)
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  4. Zina Edwards says:

    What a fantastic piece. Kudos to the researchers for sharing the "epic" battle that is happening underfoot. fascinating.

    Like(13)
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  5. PBanks says:

    Coming soon: Ant Fight Club

    Like(9)
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    • Jacob Marley says:

      The first rule about Ant Fight Club is do not talk about Ant Fight Club.

      Like(10)
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    • Alpaca says:

      what is this a fight club for ants!?

      Like(6)
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  6. Bermyman says:

    This sounds very similar to our Political system.

    Like(6)
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  7. Alpaca says:

    it's like game of thrones but with ants

    Like(4)
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  8. Dees says:

    Very interesting article! Wish there was more of this type of news.
    Now… Can someone please study and outlaw the ridiculous practice
    of … Daylight saving. What a farce. Its like believing that the earth is flat.

    Like(2)
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