Invader Ants Hurting Ecosystems, Economies

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 9, 2001   View Article

When merchant ships embarked from the shores of Brazil and Argentina in the early 1900s to carry coffee and sugar to South Africa, North America, and the Mediterranean, they carried a mischievous stowaway: Linepithema humile.

The tiny black insect, better known as the Argentine ant, used burgeoning global trade to invade ant communities around the world. Scientists are just now beginning to tally the damage. The reports are grim. Entire native ant populations have disappeared.

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