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Worldwide spread of the ruby ant, Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

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The ruby ant, Myrmica rubra (LINNAEUS, 1758) (formerly Myrmica laevinodis NYLANDER, 1846), an aggressive Eur-asian species with a powerful sting, is now spreading through temperate North America. To document the worldwide distribution of M. rubra and evaluate its potential for further spread, we compiled published and unpublished specimen records from > 2000 sites. We report the earliest known M. rubra records for 71 geographic areas (countries, major is-lands, US states, Canadian provinces, and Russian federal districts), including three areas with no previously published records: Prince Edward Island, Washington State, and the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia. All earlier published records of M. rubra from East Asia, including the Far East of Russia, Japan, and China, appear to be misidentifications of Myrmica kotokui FOREL, 1911. Myrmica rubra is native to an enormous expanse extending from Ireland and Portugal in westernmost Europe across 8000 km to central Asia and eastern Siberia, and from 39 to 70° N in latitude. Exotic populations of M. rubra were first recorded in eastern North America more than 100 years ago. Myrmica rubra is now documented from five southeastern Canadian provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec), six northeastern US states (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont), and one northwestern state (Wash-ington) ranging from 41.5 to 47.6° N.
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Myrmecological News 14 87-96 Vienna, January 2011
Worldwide spread of the ruby ant, Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
James K. WETTERER & Alexander G. RADCHENKO
Abstract
The ruby ant, Myrmica rubra (LINNAEUS, 1758) (formerly Myrmica laevinodis NYLANDER, 1846), an aggressive Eur-
asian species with a powerful sting, is now spreading through temperate North America. To document the worldwide
distribution of M. rubra and evaluate its potential for further spread, we compiled published and unpublished specimen
records from > 2000 sites. We report the earliest known M. rubra records for 71 geographic areas (countries, major is-
lands, US states, Canadian provinces, and Russian federal districts), including three areas with no previously published
records: Prince Edward Island, Washington State, and the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia. All earlier published
records of M. rubra from East Asia, including the Far East of Russia, Japan, and China, appear to be misidentifications
of Myrmica kotokui FOREL, 1911.
Myrmica rubra is native to an enormous expanse extending from Ireland and Portugal in westernmost Europe across
8000 km to central Asia and eastern Siberia, and from 39 to 70° N in latitude. Exotic populations of M. rubra were first
recorded in eastern North America more than 100 years ago. Myrmica rubra is now documented from five southeastern
Canadian provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec), six northeastern US
states (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont), and one northwestern state (Wash-
ington) ranging from 41.5 to 47.6° N.
Given the vast range of M. rubra in Eurasia, perhaps the most striking aspect about this species in North America is how
little it has spread over the past century. Most North American records of M. rubra, however, date from the last ten years,
suggesting these North American populations are expanding. There appear to be no geographic barriers that would pre-
vent M. rubra from spreading across the US and Canada, from coast to coast.
Key words: Biogeography, biological invasion, exotic species, invasive species, stinging ant.
Myrmecol. News 14: 87-96 (online 26 August 2010)
ISSN 1994-4136 (print), ISSN 1997-3500 (online)
Received 26 January 2010; revision received 29 April 2010; accepted 29 April 2010
Prof. Dr. James K. Wetterer (contact author), Wilkes Honors College, Florida Atlantic University, 5353 Parkside Drive,
Jupiter, FL 33458, USA. E-mail: wetterer@fau.edu
Prof. Dr. Alexander G. Radchenko, Museum and Institute of Zoology of the Polish Academy of Science, Wilcza str. 64,
00-679 Warsaw, Poland. E-mail: agradchenko@hotmail.com
Introduction
Numerous ant species have spread around the world through
human commerce. Only a few of these are known to have
significant ecological and / or economic impacts. Most of
the destructive invasive ants have spread through tropical
and subtropical regions, often achieving extremely broad
distributions in both the Old and New World, e.g., Mono-
morium destructor (JERDON, 1851), Pheidole megacephala
(FABRICIUS, 1793) and Linepithema humile (MAYR, 1868)
(WETTERER 2007, 2009, WETTERER & al. 2009). One po-
tentially destructive Eurasian ant now spreading through
temperate North America is the ruby ant, Myrmica rubra
(LINNAEUS, 1758). Reporting this ant from Massachusetts,
WHEELER (1908) wrote that M. rubra (as its junior synonym
Myrmica laevinodis NYLANDER, 1846) "is the most dis-
agreeable of the palaearctic Myrmicas ... its workers are ag-
gressive and sting severely. It is very fond of attending aph-
ids and, unlike our timid native Myrmicas, which live in the
retirement of woods, bogs, heaths and waste places gen-
erally, it prefers to nest in cultivated soil. Hence it may be-
come a nuisance in lawns and dooryards." Here, we docu-
ment the worldwide distribution of M. rubra and specu-
late on its future spread.
Taxonomy and identification: Myrmica rubra has
reddish-brown monomorphic workers (4 - 5 mm total
length; Figs. 1 - 3). Most strikingly, "M. rubra is a very
aggressive species which stings freely" (SEIFERT 1988).
COLLINGWOOD (1987) wrote that M. rubra "has the most
vicious sting of all the British ants, comparable with that
from a stinging nettle."
LINNAEUS (1758) first described Formica rubra (= M.
rubra) from Europe. LINNAEUS (1767) later added "pessi-
me nostratum pungit" (= "it stings the worst of our native
species") to its description. Unfortunately, LINNAEUS' (1758,
1767) written description matched more than one ant spe-
cies. It was generally presumed that M. rubra was the se-
nior synonym of either Myrmica ruginodis NYLANDER, 1846
or Myrmica laevinodis NYLANDER, 1846 (sometimes spel-
led levinodis), because these two European species have the
most powerful stings (EMERY 1908, DONISTHORPE 1913,
1915). Some authors considered these to be two subspecies
of M. rubra, with no nominal subspecies (i.e., M. rubra
rubra). SANTSCHI (1931) speculated (incorrectly) that M.
rubra was the senior synonym of M. ruginodis, and many
researchers accepted this judgment (e.g., WEBER 1947,
BRIAN & BRIAN 1949, CREIGHTON 1950). This error was
corrected when YARROW (1955) examined all Myrmica
specimens in the Linnaean type collection and concluded
that the type of M. rubra was actually the senior syno-
nym of M. laevinodis. Thus, all published records of M.
laevinodis refer to M. rubra. A few pre-1955 records of
M. rubra, however, actually refer to M. ruginodis, but these
can be readily recognized if an author refers to M. laevi-
nodis and M. rubra as distinct species (e.g., BRIAN &
BRIAN 1949).
Junior synonyms of M. rubra include M. laevinodis
(described from Finland and Sweden; synonymized with
M. rubra by YARROW 1955), Myrmica longiscapus CUR-
TIS, 1854 (described from Scotland and England; synony-
mized with M. laevinodis by MAYR 1863), Myrmica laevi-
nodis europaea FINZI, 1926 (first available use of Myrmica
rubra ssp. champlaini var. europaea FOREL, 1911) (de-
scribed from Norway; synonymized with M. rubra by
RADCHENKO & al. 1997), Myrmica laevinodis bruesi WE-
BER, 1947 (first available use of Myrmica rubra laevinodis
var. bruesi WHEELER, 1906) (described from Massachusetts;
synonymized with M. laevinodis by CREIGHTON 1950),
and Myrmica microrubra SEIFERT, 1993 (described from
Germany; synonymized with M. rubra by STEINER & al.
2006). One extant subspecies, Myrmica rubra neolaevi-
nodis FOREL, 1901, was described from specimens inter-
cepted in New York on flowers imported from Hamburg,
Germany.
PROVANCHER (1887) synonymized Myrmica incompleta
PROVANCHER, 1881 (described from Canada) with M. lae-
vinodis (= M. rubra). FRANCOEUR & BEIQUE (1966), how-
ever, revived M. incompleta, recognizing it as the senior
synonym of Myrmica brevinodis EMERY, 1895, a species
known from across Canada and the northern US. SMITH
(1951) synonymized Myrmica rubra champlaini FOREL,
1901 (described from Quebec) with M. laevinodis, but GRO-
DEN & al. (2005) instead synonymized it with Myrmica
brevispinosa WHEELER, 1917.
RADCHENKO (1994) placed M. rubra with ten other spe-
cies in the M. rubra species-group. Within this group, M.
rubra and M. ruginodis formed a clade whose sister group
included the other nine species, all from Asia: Myrmica
dshungarica RUZSKY, 1905 (described from Kazakhstan),
Myrmica tibetana MAYR, 1889 (from Tibet), Myrmica chi-
nensis VIEHMEYER, 1922 (from China), Myrmica smythiesii
FOREL, 1901 (from India), Myrmica juglandeti ARNOL'DI,
1976 (from Kyrgyzstan), Myrmica kryzhanovskii ARNOL'DI,
1976 (from Tajikistan), Myrmica ferganensis FINZI, 1926
(from Kyrgyzstan), Myrmica dicaporiaccoi MENOZZI, 1939
(from India), and Myrmica everesti DONISTHORPE, 1929
(from near Mount Everest). After further analyses, how-
ever, A.G.R. now considers the three closest relatives of
M. rubra to be M. ruginodis, Myrmica arisana WHEELER,
1930, and Myrmica kotokui FOREL, 1911 (A.G. Radchenko,
unpubl.), and excludes the other species mentioned above
from the M. rubra species-group. Myrmica arisana is known
rom Taiwan (WHEELER 1930) and Myrmica kotokui is
known from Japan, Korea, and the Russian Far East (COL-
LINGWOOD 1976, RADCHENKO 2005).
f
Myrmica rubra can be distinguished from M. ruginodis
by the shape and sculpture of the petiolar node and the
propodeal spine length. The petiolar node is rounded in M.
rubra, but flat-topped in M. ruginodis; the sides of node
are striated or at most finely rugulose in M. rubra, but
coarsely rugose in M. ruginodis (laevinodis means "smooth
node," whereas ruginodis means "wrinkled node.") Also,
M. rubra has relatively shorter propodeal spines than does
M. ruginodis. In the past, many authors recognized inter-
mediate forms between M. rubra and M. ruginodis based
on propodeal spine length. BRIAN & BRIAN (1949), how-
ever, found that propodeal spine length is correlated with
worker size, such that large M. rubra workers have the
same spine length as small M. ruginodis workers. BRIAN &
BRIAN (1949) found that when comparing the spine length
to head width ratio, M. rubra and M. ruginodis are simple
to distinguish.
Common names: In Eurasia, common names for M.
rubra include the red ant and common red ant (and their
equivalents in other languages), names that are also ap-
plied to several other species. Recently, North American
researchers have begun calling M. rubra the European red
ant or European fire ant. We consider all these names to be
unsatisfactory. The only distinctive name is European fire
ant, and this name is misleading because it falsely suggests
a kinship with "true" Solenopsis fire ants. In addition, M.
rubra is not strictly European; it is also native in much of
northern Asia as well, and most of its closest relatives are
strictly Asian species. In Latin, rubra means ruby, dark red,
ruddy, reddish, blushed, flushed, or shamed. We therefore
suggest "ruby ant" as a new English common name for M.
rubra.
Methods
We documented the worldwide range of Myrmica rubra
using both published and unpublished records. We ob-
tained unpublished site records from museum specimens
in the collections of the Museum of Comparative Zoology
(MCZ), Archbold Biological Station (ABS), Zoological
Museum of the Moscow State University (ZMMU), Zoo-
logical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St.
Petersburg (ZISP), Schmalhausen Institute of Zoology of
the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, Kiev (SIZK),
and the Museum and Institute of Zoology of the Polish
Academy of Sciences, Warsaw (MIZ). Stefan Cover iden-
tified all specimens at the MCZ and ABS; A.G.R. identi-
fied all specimens at the ZMMU, ZISP, SIZK, and MIZ.
In addition, we used on-line databases with collection in-
formation on specimens by Antweb (www.antweb.org) and
the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (www.gbif.
org). We also received unpublished records from Herbert
Zettel (Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovenia), S. Tschesno-
kova (Russia), R. Schultz (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and
Russia), J. Huber (Canada), A. Francoeur (Canada), G. El-
mes (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia), and M. Bustos
(Canada).
Geographic coordinates for collection sites came from
published references, specimen labels, maps, or geography
web sites (e.g., earth.google.com, www.tageo.com, and
www.fallingrain.com). If a site record listed a geographic
region rather than a "point locale," and we had no other
88
Figs. 1 - 3: Myrmica rubra. (1) Head
of worker from Italy; (2) lateral
view of the same worker; (3) dorsal
view of the same worker (photos by
A. Nobile; copyright AntWeb.org).
record for this region, we usually used the coordinates of
the largest town within the region. If one source had many
sites less than 10 - 20 km apart (e.g., KOFLER 1995, SCHLICK-
STEINER & STEINER 1999), we often did not plot every site.
We did not map records of M. rubra intercepted in
shipments by quarantine inspectors, e.g., GRODEN & al.'s
(2005) records of M. rubra found in cargo arriving in
Massachusetts (from Poland), New Jersey (from Holland
and England), New York (from Germany), Pennsylvania
(from Ireland & Germany), and Washington DC (from Ger-
many).
Results
We compiled published and unpublished specimen records
from > 2000 sites. We documented the earliest known M.
rubra records for 71 geographic areas (countries, major
islands, US states, Canadian provinces, Russian federal
districts; Tabs. 1 - 4), including the first records of M.
rubra from Prince Edward Island (det. S. Cover), Wash-
ington (det. S. Cover), and the Far Eastern Federal Dis-
trict of Russia (det. A.G.R.). For five of these geographic
areas, we had no specific site record, so we mapped the
record to the largest city (Bosnia mapped to Sarajevo, Ka-
liningrad Oblast mapped to Kaliningrad), or in the case of
three southern areas, we mapped a northern mountain (Ko-
ula in Greece, Monte das Raposas in Portugal, and Mahya
Dagi in Thrace).
Myrmica rubra has records from a large area of the
Palaearctic stretching from Ireland and Portugal in West-
ern Europe across 8000 km to central Asia and Siberia,
and spread in latitude from 39 - 70° N (> 95% of records
from 40 - 65° N; Fig. 4; Tabs. 1 - 3). At lower latitudes, M.
rubra is usually found only at higher elevations. In conti-
nental Europe, M. rubra is known from all countries except
Albania, Monaco, and San Marino (Tabs. 1 - 3). Most M.
rubra records come from the western part of its native
range, but this appears to be largely due to greater sam-
pling and most accessible data in Western and Central
89
Fig. 4: Worldwide distribution records of Myrmica rubra. ? = questionable record (see text).
Europe. Similarly, the dates of the earliest records of M.
rubra in different parts of its native range have little sig-
nificance beyond indicating where early ant research was
conducted and the results published in accessible sources.
In North America, M. rubra has been reliably recorded
from five southeastern Canadian provinces (New Bruns-
wick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and
Quebec), six northeastern US states (Maine, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont),
and one northwestern state (Washington) (Tab. 4). Most M.
rubra records in North America are from the past ten years.
In June 2008, J.K.W. collected M. rubra at eight sites
on Prince Edward Island, a Canadian province where M.
rubra has not been previously reported (geo-coordinates
in parentheses): Dalvay, by hotel (46.416, -63.074), Char-
lottetown, Victoria Park (46.229, -63.139), Brookvale Pro-
vincial Park, forest (46.275, -63.421), Darnley, forest patch
(46.546, -63.642), Brundenell River Provincial Park, by
river (46.199, -62.576), Sally’s Beach Provincial Park, near
beach (46.264, -62.380), Seal Cove, campground (46.046,
-62.523), and Portage, by bike trail (46.665, -64.058). J.K.W.
also collected M. rubra at a highway rest area in Med-
way, Maine (45.596, -68.535) and on the roadside by the
ferry terminal on Deer Island, New Brunswick (44.928,
-66.985). The records came from a wide variety of habitats,
including an urban park, the manicured grass of a hotel,
beachfront scrub, and intact forest.
Questionable records: We have mapped ten question-
able records from sites that fall outside the confirmed range
of M. rubra (question marks in Fig. 4). Although we be-
lieve that all these records of M. rubra are probably based
on errors of identification or location, we included them
because they have been largely overlooked and deserved to
be re-examined.
Two early voyages to Arctic Greenland and neighbor-
ing parts of North America, both listed M. rubra as the
only ant species recorded. From an 1824 - 1825 voyage,
ROSS (1826) wrote that Formica rubra (= M. rubra) was
"abundant at the Whale-fish Islands; it was also found, on
the preceding voyage, on several parts of the Melville Pen-
insula" (in Greenland and Nunavut, respectively). From an
1829 - 1833 Arctic voyage, CURTIS (1835) listed Myrmica
rubra as "Numerous, under stones," but gave no site infor-
mation. These records, however, predate the descriptions of
many related species (including M. ruginodis), and could
be misidentifications. WEBER (1953) asserted that these rec-
ords were probably misidentifications of Formica fusca
LINNAEUS, but gave no rationale for this conclusion. How-
ever, it seems unlikely that CURTIS (1835) would confuse
ants in two such fundamentally dissimilar genera, the name-
sakes of two subfamilies (Myrmica in Myrmicinae versus
Formica in Formicinae). In fact, CURTIS (1854) described
Myrmica longiscapus (= M. rubra) and wrote keys distin-
guishing Myrmica from Formica. It seems more likely that
the ants were a species of Myrmica (e.g., Myrmica alask-
ensis WHEELER, 1917) or another myrmicine species (e.g.,
Leptothorax acervorum (FABRICIUS, 1793)) known from
Arctic Canada and Alaska. Remarkably, we have found no
other ant records of any kind from Nunavut or Greenland.
In fact, recent authors commonly state that no ants now live
in Greenland, though there are fossil ants from northern
Greenland (e.g., BENNIKE & BÖCHER 1990, HEINZE 1993).
Someone needs to go look for these ants.
ANDRÉ (1883) listed the range of M. laevinodis (= M.
rubra) as including North America, though we do not know
the source of this information. MAYR (1886), in his review
of the ants of North America, wrote of M. laevinodis (= M.
rubra): "This species is known to me only from Labrador,"
then reported M. ruginodis from Colorado and Virginia.
We do not know the sources of these records. ASHMEAD
(1902) reported M. laevinodis (= M. rubra) collected from
Nushagak River in Alaska, noting that this species "occurs
also in Siberia and various parts of the United States." Yet
we have been unable to find any other record of this species
from the United States published before WHEELER (1906).
We also mapped questionable records of M. laevinodis
(= M. rubra) from Kashmir (FOREL 1906), North India (KA-
RAWAJEW 1934), and Turkmenistan (KARAWAJEW 1934).
90
Tab. 1: Earliest known records for Myrmica rubra from its
native range in Western Europe. ENB = inatura - Erlebnis
Naturschau Dornbirn, ZMUC = University of Copenhagen
Zoology Museum.
Earliest record
Andorra 2006 (BERNADOU & al. 2006)
Austria 1853 (J. Möller, ENB): many sites
Belgium 1897 (GASPAR 1966 as M. laevinodis)
Denmark 1853 (Meinert, ZMUC): Amager
England 1852 (ROEBUCK 1877 as M. laevinodis)
Finland 1846 (NYLANDER 1846 as M. laevinodis)
France 1855 (MAYR 1855 as M. laevinodis)
Germany 1852 (SCHENCK 1852 as M. laevinodis)
Ireland 1898 (CUTHBERT 1898 as M. laevinodis)
Isle of Man 1976 (BARONI-URBANI & COLLINGWOOD
1976)
Italy 1853 (MAYR 1853 as M. laevinodis)
Liechtenstein 2004 (RADCHENKO 2004)
Luxembourg 1953 (STUMPER 1953 as M. laevinodis)
Netherlands 1887 (BOS 1887 as M. laevinodis)
Northern
Ireland
1896 (JOHNSON 1896 as M. laevinodis)
Norway 1898 (STRAND 1898 as M. levinodis)
Portugal 1979 (COLLINGWOOD 1979)
Scotland 1825 (CURTIS 1854 as M. longiscapus)
Spain 1879 (MARTORELL Y PEÑA 1879 as M.
laevinodis)
Sweden 1846 (NYLANDER 1846 as M. laevinodis)
Switzerland 1855 (MAYR 1855 as M. laevinodis)
Vatican City 1855 (MAYR 1855 as M. laevinodis)
Wales 1913 (DONISTHORPE 1913 as M. laevinodis)
It is very likely that the records from Kashmir and North
India are based on misidentifications of one or more close-
ly related Myrmica species found in the Himalayas (see
above). The record from Turkmenistan may be a locality
error based on the record of M. laevinodis (= M. rubra) in
MAYR (1877) from Turkestan, a name formerly used for the
region encompassing much of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. MENOZZI (1939)
listed M. laevinodis (= M. rubra) among the 22 species of
Myrmica known from the Himalayas and Tibet.
GLEASON (1909) listed M. rubra on Isle Royale, Mich-
igan, but it seems much more likely that this record was ac-
Tab. 2: Earliest known records for Myrmica rubra from its
native range in Central and Southeastern Europe.
Earliest record
Bosnia/
Herzegovina
1898 (WASMANN 1898 as M. laevinodis)
Bulgaria 1891 (FOREL 1892 as M. laevinodis)
Croatia 1890 (KORLEVIC 1890 as M. laevinodis)
Czech
Republic
1855 (MAYR 1855 as M. laevinodis)
Greece 1985 (AGOSTI & COLLINGWOOD 1987)
Hungary 1869 (FRIVALDSZKY 1869 as M. laevinodis)
Macedonia 1992 (PETROV & COLLINGWOOD 1992)
Montenegro 1922 (KULMATYCKI 1922 as M. laevinodis)
Poland 1855 (MAYR 1855 as M. laevinodis)
Romania 1853 (FUSS 1853 as M. laevinodis)
Serbia 1950 (ZIVOJINOVIC 1950 in PETROV & al. 2005)
Slovakia 1907 (CSIKI 1909 as M. laevinodis)
Slovenia 1855 (MAYR 1855 as M. laevinodis)
Turkey
(European)
1985 (AGOSTI & COLLINGWOOD 1987)
tually some North American Myrmica that was considered
a subspecies of M. rubra at the time, e.g., M. rubra cham-
plaini (= M. brevispinosa). In 1909, virtually all records
of true M. rubra were reported as M. laevinodis. CAGNIANT
(1962) recorded M. rubra from the Atlas Mountains of
Morocco. However, CAGNIANT (2006) compiled a list of ant
species known from Morocco that did not include M. rubra,
but had four other Myrmica. A.G.R. examined an old spe-
cimen (probably pre-1900) of M. rubra labeled simply "Al-
geria" in the ZISP collection. This record appears to fall
outside the range of M. rubra and could be from an intro-
duced population, intercepted in quarantine, or simply mis-
labeled.
For five of the questionable records, we had no specific
site within the region; we mapped these as follows: Algiers
in Algeria, Srinagar in Kashmir, Goose Bay in Labrador,
Leh in North India, and Daşoguz in Turkmenistan.
Erroneous records: We excluded from the map the
many published records of M. rubra from East Asia, in-
cluding the Far East of Russia (ONOYAMA 1989, KUPY-
ANSKAYA 1990, KUPYANSKAYA & LELEJ 2000, KUPYANS-
KAYA & al. 2000), Japan (FOREL 1901, 1907, TERANISHI
1929, EMERY 1908, 1921, ONOYAMA 1989, IMAI & al.
2003), and China (e.g., EMERY 1908, COLLINGWOOD 1962,
CHANG & HE 2001, AZUMA & al. 2005), because all are al-
most certainly misidentifications. For example, RADCHENKO
(2005) determined the East Asian M. rubra records in FO-
REL (1907), EMERY (1908, 1921), WEBER (1948), and ONO-
YAMA (1989) all to be M. kotokui.
HOLGERSEN (1943) recorded M. rubra (as M. laevino-
dis) from "Sajan, Sistikem, Mongolia," but Systyg Khem in
91
Tab. 3: Earliest known records for Myrmica rubra from its
native range in Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, and
Asia. ZMMU = Zoological Museum of the Moscow State
University. + = no previously published records.
Earliest record
+ Armenia 1900 (RUZSKY 1905 as M. laevinodis)
+ Azerbaijan 1898 (RUZSKY 1905 as M. laevinodis)
+ Belarus 1904 (RUZSKY 1905 as M. laevinodis)
+ Estonia 1887 (MÜHLEN 1887 as M. laevinodis)
+ Georgia 1899 (RUZSKY 1905 as M. laevinodis)
+ Kaliningrad 1939 (JACOBSON 1939 as M. laevinodis)
+ Kazakhstan 1896 (RUZSKY 1905 as M. laevinodis)
+ Kyrgyzstan 1976 (TARBINSKY 1976)
+ Latvia 1889 (NASSONOV 1889 as M. laevinodis)
+ Lithuania 1889 (NASSONOV 1889 as M. laevinodis)
+ Moldova 1965 (CÎRDEI & BULIMAR 1965 as M.
laevinodis in WOJCIK & PORTER 2008)
+ Russia: Central 1889 (NASSONOV 1889 as M. laevinodis)
+ Russia: Far
+ East
date unknown (collector unknown,
ZMMU): Sakha Republic, Saldykel'
+ Russia, N.
+ Caucasian
1899 (Ruzsky 1905 as M. laevinodis)
+ Russia: North-
+ eastern
1889 (NASSONOV 1889 as M. laevinodis)
+ Russia: Siberian 1856 (NYLANDER 1856 as M. laevinodis)
+ Russia: Southern 1849 (NYLANDER 1849 as M. laevinodis)
+ Russia: Urals 1894 (RUZSKY 1905 as M. laevinodis)
+ Russia: Volga 1894 (RUZSKY 1905 as M. laevinodis)
+ Tajikistan 1870 (MAYR 1877 as M. laevinodis)
+ Turkey: Kars 1902 (RUZSKY 1905 as M. laevinodis)
+ Ukraine 1892 (NASSONOV 1892 as M. laevinodis)
the Sayan Mountains is actually located in Tuva, Siberia.
Subsequent lists of Mongolian ant species that include M.
rubra appear to be based on this error.
Discussion
Myrmica rubra has a very broad native distribution in Eur-
asia, spread over 30° of latitude and extending 8000 km
across Europe and Siberia (Fig. 4). SEIFERT (1988) wrote
that M. rubra ranged from Portugal to eastern Siberia and
from Italy to northern Scandinavia, but in the Mediterrane-
an region it was only found in moist places. RADCHENKO
(2005) wrote: "M. rubra is a Euro-Siberian species, whose
eastern limit of distribution is Lake Baikal." The present an-
alysis largely agrees with these earlier assessments, though
Tab. 4: Earliest known records for Myrmica rubra from its
exotic range in North America. ABS = Archbold Biological
Station, MCZ = Museum of Comparative Zoology. + = no
previously published records.
Earliest record
+ Massachusetts 1900 (WHEELER 1906 as M. laevi-
nodis bruesi)
+ Quebec 1915 (GRODEN & al. 2005)
+ New York 1936 (LINDSEY 1939)
+ Maine 1952 (GRODEN & al. 2005)
+ Rhode Island 1966 (GRODEN & al. 2005)
+ Ontario 1975 (GRODEN & al. 2005)
+ New Hampshire 1977 (GRODEN & al. 2005)
+ Washington 1988 (M. Deyrup, ABS): Seattle
+ Nova Scotia 1998 (GRODEN & al. 2005)
+ New Brunswick 2005 (GRODEN & al. 2005)
+ Vermont 2005 (GRODEN & al. 2005)
+ Prince Edward Is. 2008 (J.K. Wetterer, MCZ): Dalvay
with a distribution reaching somewhat east of Lake Bai-
kal, with one record from the Sakha Republic of the Russi-
an Far Eastern Federal District (Tab. 3, Fig. 4). We found
no M. rubra records from Uzbekistan and most of Kaz-
akhstan. We believe that this gap in the distribution of M.
rubra in Central Asia is real and not due solely to poor
sampling. Almost all site records from Kazakhstan came
from the mountainous regions along its northern and south-
eastern borders. The arid conditions over much of Uzbeki-
stan and Kazakhstan may exclude M. rubra.
DONISTHORPE (1915) noted that M. rubra (as M. laevi-
nodis) occurs "further south in the mountains." Indeed, most
of the lowest latitude records of M. rubra across Eurasia
(39 - 42° N) were from high elevation regions in the Py-
renees, Alps, Rhodope, Caucasus, Pamir, and Tian Shan
Mountains. During the last glacial maximum ~ 16,000 years
ago, populations of M. rubra no doubt extended into much
lower latitudes. But with the latest interglacial warming, pop-
ulations retreated to higher latitudes or higher elevations.
In contrast to its very broad native range, M. rubra has
a very limited distribution in North America. The few pub-
lished records of M. rubra from Greenland, Nunavut, La-
brador, and Alaska are probably based on misidentifica-
tions. The remaining M. rubra records in the US and Cana-
da come from a fairly narrow band of latitude (Fig. 4), from
Woods Hole, Massachusetts (41.5° N) and Newport, Rhode
Island (41.5° N) in the south to Quebec City, Quebec
(46.8° N) and Portage, Prince Edward Island (46.7° N) in
the north. Given the enormous range of this species in the
Palaearctic and how often it has been found in cargo from
Europe, perhaps the most striking aspect about M. rubra
in North America is how little it has spread over the past
100 years.
92
One possible explanation may be that the North Ame-
rican populations of M. rubra have a fairly narrow range
of climatic tolerances. In Europe, different M. rubra popu-
lations show physiological adaptations to the local climate
(ELMES & al. 1999). Thus, although the species as a whole
is able to live under a great diversity of climatic conditions
in Europe and Asia, any one population has a much nar-
rower tolerance range. It is possible that the populations
of M. rubra now in North America are descended from
colonists from a narrow geographic area or even a single
locale and are not adapted to spread much beyond their cur-
rent latitudinal range in the New World. Most M. rubra
records in North America are from the past ten years, sug-
gesting that the North American populations are expand-
ing. While it is not clear what the latitudinal limits are, there
appears to be no geographic barriers that would prevent M.
rubra from spreading across the US and Canada from the
Atlantic to Pacific coasts.
Impact: In addition to its sting, M. rubra may become
a crop pest through tending plant-feeding aphids. SEIFERT
(1988) wrote that M. rubra "tends aphids more frequently
than other members of the genus." In some areas (e.g.,
along rivers and streams in Carpathian Mountains), M. ru-
bra forms huge supercolonies consisting of hundreds of in-
terconnected nests with hundred of thousands (or even mil-
lions) of workers. In these areas, population densities of M.
rubra may become very high (A.G. Radchenko, unpubl.).
STURTEVANT (1931) wrote of M. laevinodis bruesi (= M.
rubra) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, where M. rubra was
first found in 1900: "This form was described from speci-
mens taken in the woods adjoining the Fay Rose Gardens.
It is now the dominant ant in these woods, but I have been
unable to find a single specimen in any other place. The
numerous nests seem to represent branches of a single fam-
ily, since transfers of workers never lead to fighting in spite
of the fact that the species is very pugnacious and has the
most painful sting of any ant I have encountered in the
northeastern states." GARNAS & al. (2007), however, did
not find large-scale supercolonies in the M. rubra popula-
tions of Maine.
In the native range of M. rubra, a complex of co-
evolved competitors and natural enemies may keep most
M. rubra populations in check. For example, SEIFERT (1988)
wrote that M. rubra and M. ruginodis "have a high ecologi-
cal similarity or overlap of their fundamental niches (63%)
but their real habitat overlap is 12.9% only ... which indi-
cates a strong competitive displacement."
In North America, the absence of co-evolved competi-
tors and natural enemies may allow M. rubra populations
to expand to levels where they become significant pests.
Reports of M. rubra as a serious pest in North America are
all recent. SPIERING (2009) wrote that at the Tifft Nature
Preserve in Buffalo, New York, M. rubra "were discov-
ered on the preserve in the mid-1980’s and soon became
such a serious pest that sections of the preserve needed to
be closed to the public at times." The earliest record of M.
rubra from New Brunswick dates to 1998, but now re-
ports of this species as a pest come from all over the pro-
vince (TOAL 2008). Recently there have been enormous
outbreaks of M. rubra in coastal Maine, particularly on
Mount Desert Island (GRODEN & al. 2005).
Why is M. rubra suddenly emerging as a pest after more
than a century of residence? One possibility is that a new
strain of M. rubra has been recently introduced to North
America. If the M. rubra population found in Woods Hole,
Massachusetts in 1900 still persists, it would be interesting
to examine whether or not it genetically matches popula-
tions in other parts of North America. In any event, it seems
likely that if M. rubra populations in North America con-
tinue expanding, this species will become a familiar sting-
ing pest ant in temperate North America.
Acknowledgements
We thank M. Wetterer and A. Wetterer for comments on
this manuscript; S. Cover (MCZ) and M. Deyrup (ABS)
for help with their respective ant collections; H. Zettel, S.
Tschesnokova, R. Schultz, J. Huber, A. Francoeur, G. El-
mes, and M. Bustos for supplying unpublished records; W.
O'Brien for GIS help; D.P. Wojcik and S.D. Porter for com-
piling their valuable FORMIS bibliography; R. Pasos and
W. Howerton of the FAU library for processing so many
interlibrary loans; and Florida Atlantic University for finan-
cial support.
Zusammenfassung
Die Ameise Myrmica rubra (LINNAEUS, 1758) (früher Myr-
mica laevinodis NYLANDER, 1846) ist eine aggressive eura-
sische Art mit mächtigem Stich, die sich derzeit im tem-
peraten Nordamerika ausbreitet. Hier wird der Trivialname
"ruby ant" vorgeschlagen. Um die weltweite Verbreitung
von M. rubra zu dokumentieren und ihr Potenzial zur wei-
teren Ausbreitung abzuschätzen, haben wir veröffentlichte
und unveröffentlichte Nachweise von > 2000 Fundorten
zusammengetragen. Wir berichten von den frühesten be-
kannten Nachweisen der Art für 71 geographische Gebiete
(Länder, große Inseln, US-Bundesstaaten, kanadische Pro-
vinzen und russische Föderationskreise), einschließlich drei-
er Gebiete ohne bisher veröffentlichte Nachweise: Prince
Edward Island, der Staat Washington und der russische
Föderationskreis Ferner Osten. Bei allen veröffentlichten
Nachweisen von M. rubra aus Ostasien, einschließlich Ja-
pans, Chinas und des östlichsten Teils Russlands, scheint
es sich um Fehlbestimmungen von Myrmica kotokui FO-
REL, 1911 zu handeln.
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... The European fire ant, Myrmica rubra (Linnaeus, 1758), probably arrived in northeastern North America sometime in the late 19th/early 20th century (Wheeler, 1908;Wetterer & Radchenko, 2011), possibly in the soils of trade-ship ballast and/or ornamental plant pots (Groden et al., 2005;Hicks et al., 2014). Despite its long residence time, most reports of M. rubra began in the early 21st century (Groden et al., 2005;Wetterer & Radchenko, Correspondence: Robert J. Warren II, SUNY Buffalo State, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo NY 14222, U.S.A. E-mail: hexastylis@ gmail.com ...
... The European fire ant, Myrmica rubra (Linnaeus, 1758), probably arrived in northeastern North America sometime in the late 19th/early 20th century (Wheeler, 1908;Wetterer & Radchenko, 2011), possibly in the soils of trade-ship ballast and/or ornamental plant pots (Groden et al., 2005;Hicks et al., 2014). Despite its long residence time, most reports of M. rubra began in the early 21st century (Groden et al., 2005;Wetterer & Radchenko, Correspondence: Robert J. Warren II, SUNY Buffalo State, 1300 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo NY 14222, U.S.A. E-mail: hexastylis@ gmail.com 2011). ...
... Whereas M. rubra is widespread throughout Eurasia, ranging from the Arctic Circle to the Black sea, the invaded range is much narrower, currently limited to northeastern North America, with some M. rubra populations also in northwestern North America. Both the native and invaded-range populations only occur north of the 40th parallel, suggesting they may be limited by the environmental tolerances of a single or few source populations or a legacy of limited original introduction points (Groden et al., 2005;Wetterer & Radchenko, 2011;Hicks et al., 2014). ...
Article
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1. Myrmica rubra (European fire ant) has invaded northern latitude coastal areas in North America. This macroscale distribution suggests that M. rubra is moisture‐ and temperature‐limited, but the distribution of the invaded range may reflect the legacy of original introduction locations preserved by limited dispersal. 2. This study examined a two‐decade population change in M. rubra (1994–2015) and the microscale abiotic (moisture and temperature), biotic (plants), anthropogenic (pesticide) and physiological (thermal tolerance) limits on the invasion at the Tifft Nature Preserve in Buffalo, NY (U.S.A.). Changes in the abundance of native ants and other invertebrates were also examined. 3. Despite localised declines with pesticide treatments, overall M. rubra forager abundance increased 27% between 1994 and 2015. Abundance increased the most in the warmest areas (native ants were unaffected by temperature), but M. rubra colony locations were strongly linked to higher soil moisture and lower soil temperature. Myrmica rubra ants also exhibited relatively low thermal tolerances consistent with high‐latitude and high‐elevation ants. 4. Where local M. rubra populations increased the most, native ant species decreased, and where local M. rubra populations declined, native ant species increased. Some arthropod species had lower abundance with M. rubra presence, but the impacts were less striking. 5. Myrmica rubra population growth was promoted at the microhabitat scale where relatively higher temperatures prompted foraging, and relatively lower temperatures and high moisture supported nesting. These results suggest that macroscale M. rubra invaded‐range distributions in northern climates near coastal areas are replicated at the microscale where the ant prefers cooler, moister microsites.
... Það staðfestir að eldmaurar hafi flust frá ólíkum svaeðum Evrópu yfir hafið. 21,31 Gögn úr CO1 úr evrópskum eldmaurum í Ontario-fylki staðfesta þetta einnig, 32 og sama á við um fleiri tegundir maura á norðurhveli. 31 Evrópskir eldmaurar eru ekki ágengir í heimkynnum sínum, en eru taldir ógn við líffraeðilegan fjölbreytileika víða þar sem þeir hafa numið land vegna mikillar árásargirni og vegna þess hversu margar faeðutegundir þeir geta nýtt sér. ...
... 21,31 Gögn úr CO1 úr evrópskum eldmaurum í Ontario-fylki staðfesta þetta einnig, 32 og sama á við um fleiri tegundir maura á norðurhveli. 31 Evrópskir eldmaurar eru ekki ágengir í heimkynnum sínum, en eru taldir ógn við líffraeðilegan fjölbreytileika víða þar sem þeir hafa numið land vegna mikillar árásargirni og vegna þess hversu margar faeðutegundir þeir geta nýtt sér. 16 Til að mynda hefur tegundin valdið ungadauða í hreiðrum máva í Bandaríkjunum. ...
Article
Full-text available
In late April 2021 we discovered a colony of Common red ants (Myrmica rubra, also called European fire ant) in a private garden in Reykjavík (neighbourhood of postal code 105). The homeowners claim ants were first spotted two or three years earlier. We found two nests on the premises, that contained approximately 5,000 workers and two queens. We dug up both nests and attempted extermination in cooperation with an exterminator. Significantly fewer workers were observed several months later, and none by summer's end. The species identity was confirmed by an expert and sequencing of the CO1 gene. Comparison to published sequences suggests the Icelandic colony was most related to ants in Germany or nearby countries. Several pupae developed into males in the lab, which to us signals colony maturity and a potential for spreading. We believe this case requires special attention by the relevant authorities because Common red ants are highly invasive worldwide and can pose a threat to human health. We recommend future inspections of the garden in the next two summers. We also suggest the relevant authorities monitor the situation for the next couple of years. For instance, by doing surveys in the neighborhood and reach out to neighbourhood members via social media, to assess if this was indeed the only colony in the area. In light of the fact that the Common red ants are highly invasive and can be damaging to local ecosystems, we think eradication was the correct approach. In addition to describing the finding of M. rubra in Iceland, we review relevant aspects of the biology of the species.
... Það staðfestir að eldmaurar hafi flust frá ólíkum svaeðum Evrópu yfir hafið. 21,31 Gögn úr CO1 úr evrópskum eldmaurum í Ontario-fylki staðfesta þetta einnig, 32 og sama á við um fleiri tegundir maura á norðurhveli. 31 Evrópskir eldmaurar eru ekki ágengir í heimkynnum sínum, en eru taldir ógn við líffraeðilegan fjölbreytileika víða þar sem þeir hafa numið land vegna mikillar árásargirni og vegna þess hversu margar faeðutegundir þeir geta nýtt sér. ...
... 21,31 Gögn úr CO1 úr evrópskum eldmaurum í Ontario-fylki staðfesta þetta einnig, 32 og sama á við um fleiri tegundir maura á norðurhveli. 31 Evrópskir eldmaurar eru ekki ágengir í heimkynnum sínum, en eru taldir ógn við líffraeðilegan fjölbreytileika víða þar sem þeir hafa numið land vegna mikillar árásargirni og vegna þess hversu margar faeðutegundir þeir geta nýtt sér. 16 Til að mynda hefur tegundin valdið ungadauða í hreiðrum máva í Bandaríkjunum. ...
Article
Full-text available
In late April 2021 we discovered a colony of Common red ants (Myrmica rubra,also called European fire ant) in a private garden in Reykjavík (neighbourhood of postal code 105). The homeowners claim ants were first spotted two or three years earlier. We found two nests on the premises, that contained approximately 5,000 workers and two queens. We dug up both nests and attempted extermination in co-operation with an exterminator. Significantly fewer workers were observed several months later, and none by summer´s end. The species identity was confirmed by an expert and sequencing of the CO1 gene. Comparison to publishedsequences suggests the Icelandic colony was most related to ants in Germany or nearby countries. Several pupae developed into males in the lab, which to us signals colony maturity and a potential for spreading. We believe this case requires special attention by the relevant authorities because Common red ants are highly invasive worldwide and can pose a threat to human health. We recommend future inspections of the garden in the next two summers. We also suggest the relevant authorities monitor the situation for the next couple of years. For instance, by doing surveys in the neighborhood and reach out to neighbourhood members via social media, to assess if this was indeed the only colony in the area. In light of the fact that the Common red ants are highly invasive and can be damaging to local ecosystems, we think eradication was the correct approach. In addition to describing the finding of M. rubra in Iceland, we review relevant aspects of the biology of the species.
... Myrmica rubra (the European fire ant) was introduced to northeastern North American coastal areas in the late 19th/early 20th Century, presumably in the soils of ship ballast and/or ornamental plants (Hicks et al., 2014;Wetterer & Radchenko, 2011;Wheeler, 1908). In the invaded range, M. rubra colonies appear limited to mesic forests and wetlands in fresh and marine coastal areas near points of introduction (Groden et al., 2005;Hicks et al., 2014; where it nests in leaf litter and downed woody material (Groden et al., 2005;. ...
... Non-native M. rubra workers swarm invaded habitats in abnormally high densities (Groden et al., 2005;, but native anurans appear unwilling to take advantage of this dense food resource. Whereas M. rubra has been observed in North American coastal areas for more than 100 years (Hicks et al., 2014;Wetterer & Radchenko, 2011;Wheeler, 1908), it was first documented in Western New York in the 1980s , and its distribution is patchy in the region (Warren II et al., 2018). As such, the length and strength of interactions between the ants and anurans in the region are unknown. ...
Article
Full-text available
Native predators may ignore or avoid non‐native prey because they do not recognize the novel organisms as food, or the invasive prey may bring antipredatory defences against which the native predators have not co‐evolved a sufficient attack. Non‐native ants successfully invade novel habitats worldwide and, in eastern North America, several invasive ant species bring venomous stings in quantities that far exceed that of native ant species. Ants make up a considerable portion of anuran diets, and we investigated how several native anurans reacted to the invasion of the non‐native European fire ant (Myrmica rubra). Myrmica rubra has a venomous sting, and it occurs in aggressive swarms that can deliver multiple stings. Despite these defences, based on field observations, we expected that leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens) might consume the abundant ants. We also predicted that habitat niche differences from the moisture‐dependent ants would limit consumption by the more terrestrial American toads (Anaxyrus americanus) and more aquatic green frogs (Lithobates clamitans). Our results suggested that none of the anuran species make use of the M. rubra swarms. The anurans, particularly A. americanus, consumed ample native ants in the field, but not M. rubra ants. In the laboratory, A. americanus ate several M. rubra ants, and L. pipiens a few, but experienced anuran individuals collected from M. rubra‐invaded habitat were less likely to eat the ants in laboratory. Hence, at best, M. rubra invasion appears to supplant rather than supplement anuran food resources. We examined the interactions between native anurans (Anaxyrus americanus [American toad], Lithobates clamitans [green frog] and Lithobates pipiens [leopard frog]) and a stinging non‐native ant (Myrmica rubra) We found that native anurans consumed native ants in the field, but we found no evidence that they consumed non‐native M. rubra ants in their natural environments. We also found that the anurans, particularly A. americanus, were willing to eat M. rubra in laboratory trials, but individuals captured in invaded habitat were less likely to consume the stinging ants in captivity. Anuran stress as a function of previous experience with non‐native Myrmica rubra ants. Anurans collected where M. rubra have invaded are indicated with “present” and those collected from uninvaded habitats are indicated with “absent”.
... Such data are known for many ant species that have become invasive in the Old and New Worlds, e.g. Myrmica rubra (Linnaeus, 1758), Linepithema humile, Solenopsis species from the invicta species-group and others (Radchenko & Elmes 2010;Suarez et al. 2010;Wetterer 2008;2013;Wetterer & Radchenko, 2011). Some of these species, for example, Solenopsis invicta live in the primary ranges in separate nests, aggressive to conspecific workers from other colonies (Calcaterra et al. 2008). ...
Article
Full-text available
The native (primary) range of Crematogaster subdentata Mayr lies in Central Asia. Within the secondary range in Ukraine and Russia, it is invasive. The 1 st objective of this work was to study the evolution of the biological and ecological features (habitats, queen number, colony structure, behavior, worker's activity on foraging trails) of C. subdentata in the urban environments (Tashkent) and secondary ranges (Crimea, Rostov-On-Don region). Whilst, the 2nd objective was to compared these parameters in the natural habitats in the native (Uzbekistan) range. Result showed that in the territory of the primary range in Kyzylkum, colonies of C. subdentata are strictly monogynous; in Zarafshan's oasis (riparian forests) they were polygynous (5.0±1.2 queens), but in cities of Uzbekistan C. subdentata forms supercolonies with hundreds of nests, and in total with hundreds of queens (on average 17.7±4.4 queens per one nest in supercolony). In the secondary range, C. subdentata forms even larger supercolonies with thousands of nests, containing 53.0±8.7 queens per nest. C. subdentata avoids contacts with another invasive ant species, Lasius neglectus, in the foraging territories both in the primary and secondary ranges, but other ant species avoid C. subdentata. Workers of C. subdentata are aggressive toward conspecific ones from other nests in the natural habitats, but are tolerance to those in both the secondary range and in the cities in the primary range. In conclusion, our results show that some ants may acquire invasive species traits in the urban habitats in the primary range. Serangga 2021, 26(4): 1-29. Stukalyuk et al. ISSN 1394-5130 2 ABSTRAK Taburan natif (primer) Crematogaster subdentata Mayr terletak di Asia Tengah. Di antara kawasan sekunder, Ukraine dan Rusia adalah invasif. Tujuan utama kajian ini adalah untuk melihat evolusi, ciri biologi dan ekologi (habitat, bilangan ratu, struktur koloni, kelakuan, aktiviti pekerja di sepanjang laluan mencari makan) spesies C. subdentata di kawasan urban (Tashkent) dan kawasan sekunder (Crimea, Rostov-On-Don). Objektif kedua kajian ini adalah untuk membandingkan parameter tersebut di habitat semulajadi di kawasan natif (Uzbekistan). Di teritori kawasan primer di Kyzylkum, koloni C. subdentata adalah monogynous, manakala di oasis Zarafshan (hutan riparian) adalah polygynous (5.0±1.2 ratu), tetapi di bandar Uzbekistan C. subdentata membentuk superkoloni dengan ratusan sarang dengan jumlah (purata 17.7±4.4 individu per sarang dalam superkoloni). Di kawasan sekunder, C. subdentata membentuk superkoloni lebih besar dengan ribuan sarang yang mengandungi 53.0±8.7 ratu per sarang. Crematogaster subdentata mengelak dari berhubung dengan spesies semut invasif, Lasius neglectus di teritori mencari makanan di kawasan primer dan sekunder, tetapi spesies semut lain juga mengelak dari berhubung dengan C. subdentata. Pekerja C. subdentata adalah sangat agresif dan konspesifik untuk sarang yang lain di habitat semulajadi, tetapi bertoleransi di kawasan sekunder dan primer. Hasil kajian ini menunjukkan spesies semut memerlukan ciri spesies invasif di habitat urban di kawasan primer.
... M. rubra has been introduced into regions where it is non-native through unintentional human transport, including in North America where it is considered invasive (Arevalo and Groden, 2007; National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), 2009). Since the early 1900s, established populations have been reported along the east coast in the U.S. in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Rhode Island, and New Hampshire and in Canada in Ontario, Qué bec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia (Wetterer and Radchenko, 2011). The ants were first observed in Maine in the late 1960s to early 1970s (Groden et al., 2004;Ouellette et al., 2010), and since 1998, reports of M. rubra have increased dramatically (Groden et al., 2005) in humid regions along Maine's coast (Groden et al., 2004), including in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island (Ouellette et al., 2010); however, colonies established inland suggest that the ant is able to survive in other environments throughout the state (Arevalo and Groden, 2007). ...
Article
Full-text available
The necromenic nematode Pristionchus entomophagus has been frequently found in nests of the invasive European ant Myrmica rubra in coastal Maine, United States, and may contribute to ant mortality and collapse of colonies by transferring environmental bacteria. Paenibacillus and several other bacterial species were found in the digestive tracts of nematodes harvested from collapsed ant colonies. Serratia marcescens, Serratia nematodiphila, and Pseudomonas fluorescens were collected from the hemolymph of nematode-infected wax moth (Galleria mellonella) larvae. Virulence against waxworms varied by site of origin of the nematodes. In adult nematodes, bacteria were highly concentrated in the digestive tract with none observed on the cuticle. In contrast juveniles had more on the cuticle than in the digestive tract. . Host species was the primary factor affecting bacterial community profiles, but Spiroplasma sp. and Serratia marcescens sequences were shared across ants, nematodes, and nematode-exposed G. mellonella larvae.
... Although most of the invasive species inhabit the tropical and subtropical regions, some of them, e.g. Myrmica rubra (Linnaeus, 1758), became an essential pest in the temperate zone of the North America (Wetterer & Radchenko 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
The population structure of Crematogaster subdentata Mayr, 1877 in the primary (native) (Uzbekistan) and secondary ranges (Crimea, Rostov-on-Don) is analyzed. The data obtained indicate an uncommon behavior for invasive ants – the formation of supercolonies in the primary range (the size of the foraging area is about 600 m2) in the urban territory. Nesting in houses and in trunks of old trees occurs both in the zone of invasion and in the primary range. The data of the distribution of the second invasive species in the same regions – Lasius neglectus Van Loon et al., 1990 are provided. Comparison of the population structure (ratio of the mono- and polycalic colonies, presence of the supercolonies and their sizes), parameters of the colonies (average number of the nests and forage trees per colony) showed the advantage of Crematogaster subdentata over Lasius neglectus, which is gradually crowded out by the first species in the places of contact
... M. rubra has been introduced into regions where it is non-native through unintentional human transport, including in North America where it is considered invasive (Arevalo and Groden, 2007; National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), 2009). Since the early 1900s, established populations have been reported along the east coast in the U.S. in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Rhode Island, and New Hampshire and in Canada in Ontario, Qué bec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia (Wetterer and Radchenko, 2011). The ants were first observed in Maine in the late 1960s to early 1970s (Groden et al., 2004;Ouellette et al., 2010), and since 1998, reports of M. rubra have increased dramatically (Groden et al., 2005) in humid regions along Maine's coast (Groden et al., 2004), including in Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island (Ouellette et al., 2010); however, colonies established inland suggest that the ant is able to survive in other environments throughout the state (Arevalo and Groden, 2007). ...
Chapter
How does behaviour affect biological invasions? Can it explain why some animals are such successful invaders? With contributions from experts in the field, and covering a broad range of animals, this book examines the role of behaviour in biological invasions from the point of view of both invaders and native species. The chapters cover theoretical aspects, particularly relevant behaviours and well-documented case studies, showing that behaviour is critical to the success, and ecological and socio-economic impact, of invasive species. Its insights suggest methods to prevent and mitigate those impacts, and offer unique opportunities to understand the adaptive role of behaviour. Offering a comprehensive overview of current understanding on the subject, the book is intended for biological invasion researchers and behavioural ecologists as well as ecologists and evolutionary biologists interested in how organisms deal with anthropogenic environmental changes such as climate change and habitat loss.
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Background: Necromenic nematode Pristionchus entomophagus has been frequently found in nests of the invasive European ant Myrmica rubra in coastal Maine, United States. The nematodes may contribute to ant mortality and collapse of colonies by transferring environmental bacteria. M. rubra ants naturally hosting nematodes were collected from collapsed wild nests in Maine and used for bacteria identification. Virulence assays were carried out to validate acquisition and vectoring of environmental bacteria to the ants. Results: Multiple bacteria species, including Paenibacillus spp., were found in the nematodes’ digestive tract. Serratia marcescens, Serratia nematodiphila, and Pseudomonas fluorescens were collected from the hemolymph of nematode-infected Galleria mellonella larvae. Variability was observed in insect virulence in relation to the site origin of the nematodes. In vitro assays confirmed uptake of RFP-labeled Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain PA14 by nematodes. Bacteria were highly concentrated in the digestive tract of adult nematodes, a small amount of bacteria were observed in the digestive tract of juveniles with a more significant amount on their cuticle, and none on the cuticle of adults. RFP-labeled P. aeruginosa were not observed in hemolymph of G. mellonella larvae, indicating an apparent lack of bacterial transfer from juvenile nematodes to the insects despite larval mortality. Host species was the primary factor affecting bacterial community profiles. Spiroplasma sp. and Serratia marcescens sequences were shared across ants, nematodes, and nematode-exposed G. mellonella larvae. Alternative to the idea of transferring bacteria from environment to host, we considered whether nematode-exposure might disorder or depauperate the endobiotic community of an insect host. While total bacterial diversity was not statistically lower in nematode-exposed G. mellonella larvae when compared to controls, 16 bacterial sequence variants were less abundant in nematode-exposed larvae, while three were increased, including Serratia, Pseudomonas, and Proteus. Conclusions: This study suggests that transfer of bacteria from nematodes to ants is feasible, although largely serendipitous, and may possibly contributed to ant death and/or collapse of wild colonies in Maine. Hypothetically, the use of an engineered biological control, such as nematodes carrying specifically-seeded bacterial species, may be effective, especially if the pathogenic bacteria are normally found in soil ecosystems and represents a low risk for biosafety control.
Article
The paper contains a taxonomic review of 13 species of the genus Myrmiea Latr. occurring in Poland with information on their geographical ranges, distribution in Poland and biology. The following species are under discussion: M. rubra (L.), M. ruginodis Nyl., M. sulcinodis Nyl., M. lobicornis Nyl., M. rugulosa Nyl., M. gallienii Bondr., M. hellenica For., M. specioides Bondr., M. scabrinodis Nyl., M. sabuleti Mein., M. lonae Finzi, M. hirsuta Elraes and M. schencki Viereck. A key for identifying them on the basis of workers and males is included.