Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Exotic Ants Threaten Aboriginal Communities

Date:
December 5, 2003
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Nine exotic ant species, recently discovered in the Tiwi Islands off northern Australia, represent a major environmental, economic and social threat to Aboriginal communities.

Nine exotic ant species, recently discovered in the Tiwi Islands off northern Australia, represent a major environmental, economic and social threat to Aboriginal communities.

"Exotic ants are some of the world's worst invaders," says CSIRO ecologist, Dr Ben Hoffmann.

The three worst species affecting the Tiwi Islands include the African big-headed ant (Pheidole megacephala), the Ginger ant (Solenopsis geminata), and the Singapore ant (Monomorium destructor).

"It's amazing how quickly these species have taken over Tiwi communities, almost the entire community of Pirlangimpi on Melville Island is one huge supercolony of African big headed ants," says Dr Hoffmann.

Dr Hoffmann said the community of Nguiu on Bathurst Island has spent more than $70,000 in the past 12 months fixing electrical problems due to the Singapore ant.

"I have never seen an infestation of Singapore ants like this before, the magnitude of damage is really overwhelming", he says.

Ginger ants are notorious for their painful sting, which can cause allergic reactions in people. Dr Hoffmann says Milikapiti was the worst affected community with more than 260 colonies found so far.

"Many houses were totally surrounded by ginger ants, preventing people from using their yards", he says.

Another serious pest, the Yellow Crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes), has invaded north-east Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory and has the capacity to spread right across the north to Broome.

Dr Hoffmann says pest ants, particularly the African Big-headed ant and the Yellow Crazy ant, can form huge colonies, totally displacing native animals and seriously disrupting ecological processes.

"They are a major threat to the environment and are also a serious pest of agriculture as they cause outbreaks of sap-sucking insects, which harm plants."

Tiwi Land Council Board member, Cyril Kalippa says it was most likely that the pest ants came to the Tiwi Islands from Darwin in goods such as pot plants and building materials.

"These pest ants have been spread throughout the world by people and they are now getting a strong hold in our communities. We want to keep the country as it is. The way it was before these ants came. So we would like to eradicate them as soon as possible", he says.

A Northern Land Council spokesperson says the threat of exotic pest ants should not be underestimated.

"Pest ants have the capacity to spread to all Aboriginal communities throughout the Top End. We have an opportunity now to do something about them while their distribution is limited. It will cost money but if we act quickly it will be far more cost efficient than if we wait 10 years".

The Northern Land Council, the Tiwi Land Council and CSIRO are currently developing a proposal for controlling pest ants on Aboriginal Land across northern Australia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. "Exotic Ants Threaten Aboriginal Communities." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031204075120.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2003, December 5). Exotic Ants Threaten Aboriginal Communities. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031204075120.htm
CSIRO Australia. "Exotic Ants Threaten Aboriginal Communities." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/12/031204075120.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins