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One of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species Wasmannia auropunctata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Detected in Cyprus


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Native to the Neotropics, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger, 1863) has been unintentionally introduced around the world, heavily impacting native ant biodiversity, societies, and economies as well as human and animal health due to its potentially dangerous stings. Herein we report on the first record of W. auropunctata in Cyprus. Specimens were collected from plant nurseries and tourist facilities in Paphos and Limassol district. Wasmannia auropunctata is believed to spread via the horticultural pathway to locations with sufficient humidity. Further research is necessary to determine the distribution and assess possible negative impacts of W. auropunctata to native biodiversity, society, the economy and human health in Cyprus.
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Open access journal:
ISSN: 0361-6525
DOI: 10.13102/sociobiology.v69i4.8536
Sociobiology 69(4): e8536 (December, 2022)
Invasive alien species (hereafter IAS) represent
one of the main causes of biodiversity loss with impacts
on ecosystem function and services (Vilà & Hulme, 2017;
Blackburn et al., 2019). Alien species also negatively affect
societies, economies as well as both human and animal
health and well-being on a global scale (Mazza & Tricarico,
2018; Chinchio et al., 2020; Pyšek et al., 2020). More than
14,000 alien species are currently distributed across Europe,
including 65 alien ant species (EASIN, 2022). Among them,
four species have been identied as IAS of Union Concern,
namely the re ants Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804),
S. invicta Buren, 1972 and S. richteri Forel, 1909 as well as the
Wasmannia auropunctata
       
         
   W. auropunctata
        
       Wasmannia
       
 W. auropunctata     
An international journal on social insects
Arcle History
Edited by
    
    
Corresponding author
little re ant Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger, 1863) (EU
Regulation 1203/2022). Furthermore, four alien ant species
have been identied among the 100 of the World’s Worst
Invasive Alien Species (GISD, 2022), namely the Argentine
ant Linepithema humile (Mayr, 1868), the recently revised
African big-headed ant Pheidole megacephala (Fabricius,
1793) (Salata & Fisher, 2022), the red imported re ant S.
invicta, and W. auropunctata. These species have been
considered responsible inter alia for the displacement of local
ant species, economic losses in agriculture and have been
reported as human nuisance (GISD, 2022).
Wasmannia auropunctata also called the “electric
ant” and “little or small re ant” is native to the Neotropical
zoogeographic realm and currently spread throughout the
Wasmannia auropunctata 
Jakovos Demetriou et al. First record of Wasmannia auropunctata in Cyprus
world (Wetterer, 2013; Janicki et al., 2016; Guénard et al.,
2017). Within its invaded range, it has been found to reduce
native arthropod biodiversity (Lubin, 1984; Roque-Albelo
et al., 2000; Wetterer & Porter, 2003; Mbenoun-Masse et
al., 2017), affect the fecundity and fertility of vertebrates
(i.e. tortoises and birds) (Hayashi, 1999; Roque-Albelo &
Causton, 1999; Nishida & Evenhuis, 2000) but also to pose a
signicant health risk to humans due to its stinging that may
cause anaphylactic shocks to allergic people or harm domestic
animals (i.e. cats and dogs) (Wetterer et al., 1999; Nishida &
Evenhuis, 2000; Wetterer & Porter, 2003; Kidon et al., 2022).
In Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, W.
auropunctata has been reported indoors in the United
Kingdom (Donisthorpe, 1908), Germany (Geiter et al., 2002)
and the Netherlands (Boer & Vierbergen, 2008). The species
was recorded once in 1996 in Italy (Lisa Blanca island)
(Jucker et al., 2008), although upon further investigations W.
auropunctata is to be considered absent from Lisca Bianca
where it was probably recorded erroneously” (Mr Enrico
Schifani, personal communication, September 23, 2022;
see Schifani, 2022). In Israel (Vonshak et al., 2009, 2010;
Vonshak & Ionescu-Hirsch, 2009) and Spain (Espadaler
et al., 2018, 2020) W. auropunctata has established viable
populations and spread into natural habitats. In Cyprus, nine
species of alien ants have been identied (Salata et al., 2019).
Nevertheless, the presence of Cardiocondyla mauritanica
Forel, 1890, Monomorium pharaonis (Linnaeus, 1758) and
Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804) on the island have been
supported only by single literature records (Emery, 1909;
Collingwood et al., 1997; Wetterer, 2010). In this publication,
W. auropunctata is reported for the rst time in Cyprus.
Materials and methods
Material examined
CYPRUS: Paphos, Veronica hotel [34.749580oN,
32.428932oE], alt. 20 m, 24.IV.2022, leg. and ident. L.
Borowiec and S. Salata, habitat details: hotel parking area.
Paphos, Kato Paphos, [34.736479, 32.435402], alt. 6 m.
29.IV.2022, leg. and ident. L. Borowiec and S. Salata, habitat
details: collected from sea shore at night. Paphos, Kissonerga
- Lemba [34.813211, 32.410112], alt. 85 m, 30.IV.2022, leg.
J. Demetriou, C. Georgiadis, L. Borowiec and S. Salata, ident.
L. Borowiec and S. Salata, habitat details: in plant nursery on
plastic sheets placed on the soil. ● Paphos, Kissonerga - Lemba
[34.813211, 32.410112], alt. 85 m, 07.IΧ.2022, leg. J. Demetriou,
ident. J. Demetriou, habitat details: in plant nursery on plastic
sheets placed on the soil. Paphos, Kissonerga [34.8333632,
32.405394], alt. 109 m, 30.IV.2022, leg. J. Demetriou, C.
Georgiadis, L. Borowiec and S. Salata, ident. L. Borowiec and
S. Salata, habitat details: in plant nursery on the soil. Paphos,
Chlorakas [34.7979, 32.3960], alt. 20 m, 6+23.VIII.2022, leg.
J. Demetriou, ident. J. Demetriou, habitat details: on pedestrian
path with ornamental surrounded by luxury villas. ● Limassol,
Kato Polemidia [34.6811, 33.0051], alt. 38 m, 26.III.2022,
leg. J. Demetriou, ident. L. Borowiec, habitat details: urban
park, nest under rock close to Pistacia atlantica. ● Limassol,
Savvas Savva Park [34.6805, 33.0357], alt. 15 m, 31.V.2022,
leg. J. Demetriou, ident. L. Borowiec and S. Salata, habitat
details: collected from pavement bordering urban park, shaded,
predominantly with large Ficus microcarpa L. trees (Fig 1, 2).
Specimens were collected by hand and stored in ≥70o
ethanol at the Myrmecological Laboratory, Department
of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Taxonomy, University
of Wroclaw, Poland and JD’s personal collection. Species
identication was performed using the identication keys of
Bolton (1994) and Longino and Fernández (2007) as well as
through comparison with available photographic material on
AntWeb (2022).
ata&rank=species&project=allantwebants). The competent
authorities were informed upon the identication of collected
Fig 1. Habitus of worker of Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger, 1863),
dorsal and lateral, collected from Cyprus (locality Kissonerga): scale
bar 0.5 mm (photographed by L. Borowiec).
Maps were created using QGIS Version 3.18.2 free
and open source Geographic Information System (https://
Results and discussion
Specimens of W. auropunctata were collected in urban
habitats of Limassol and Paphos such as a hotel’s parking
area, two plant nurseries, and urban parks; representing the
Sociobiology 69(4): e8536 (December, 2022)
ornamental and aromatic plants grown in well-irrigated
plant nurseries and subsequently planted in parks and tourist
facilities with sufcient moisture.
In neighbouring Israel, it was suspected that “W.
auropunctata was rst established in irrigated gardens in
the warm climate of the Jordan Valley, and only afterwards
spread into less favourable habitats […] through commercial
transport of chopped wood, logs, and potted plants” (Vonshak
et al., 2010). “As initial eradication efforts failed the ants
widely spread mainly by commerce in owerpots” (Dr Armin
Ionescu, personal communication, September 5, 2022). As a
result, the species currently occurs predominantly in irrigated
habitats or near natural water sources with frequent human
activity, enabling its survival in both warmer and drier
habitats than those of its native range (Vonshak et al., 2010).
In addition, the species has been found entering households
during the warm summer months in search of habitats with
sufcient moisture (Vonshak et al., 2010), a much needed
resource that is considered to facilitate the species spread
(Meier, 1994; Vonshak et al., 2010).
Its adverse environmental impacts on the abundance,
species richness, and community composition of native
arthropod biodiversity in Israel (Vonshak et al., 2010) as well
as the related human health risks connected with a reported
case of severe anaphylactic allergic reaction (Kidon et al.,
2022), conrm the need for further research on its origin,
distribution, pathways of spread and impacts on Cyprus.
Fig 2. Current known distribution of Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger, 1863) in the Mediterranean Basin and Cyprus (inset).
rst records for Cyprus and supplementing our knowledge
around the distribution of this invasive alien ant in Europe and
the Mediterranean (Fig. 2). Opportunistic material surveys in
Larnaca, Famagusta and Nicosia yielded no specimens. As
biological invasions have been found to pose an important
threat to island ecosystems (Reaser et al., 2007; Russel et
al., 2017), the presence of W. auropunctata in Cyprus raises
concerns regarding its possible spread to natural habitats and
threat towards native biodiversity. This omnivorous alien
species is predicted to expand its range in Cyprus over the
next decades because of its ability to colonize and establish in
a wide range of disturbed and undisturbed habitats (Longino
& Fernández, 2007; Mbenoun Masse et al., 2017; CABI,
2022), construct polygynous nests in a variety of substrates
(Longino & Fernández, 2007) and tolerate a wide range of
climatic and environmental conditions (i.e. altitude and
humidity) (Longino & Fernández, 2007; Vonshak et al., 2010;
Cuezzo et al., 2015).
Horizon scanning exercises for IAS not yet present
on the island, ranked W. auropunctata amongst the top 50
most likely IAS to reach Cyprus and potentially threaten
human health and the island’s economy (Peyton et al., 2020).
Peyton et al. (2020) mention organic packing material, ships,
containers and natural dispersal across borders as the most
prominent introduction pathways for the species. Based on
our study, the W. auropunctata is presumed to have spread
through the horticultural pathway, hidden in the soil of
Jakovos Demetriou et al. First record of Wasmannia auropunctata in Cyprus
Furthermore, Cyprus has similar climatological conditions to
Israel therefore we expect that the spread of W. auropunctata
could follow the same patterns observed in Israel causing
negative impacts to biodiversity, human health and socio-
economic parameters. The use of molecular markers could
help identify the origin and number of introductions of W.
auropunctata in Cyprus. Further research is necessary to
assess both the native and alien myrmecofauna of Cyprus,
which are relatively understudied. Structured material
surveys in plant nurseries and touristic facilities are required
to study pathways of introduction and further spread of W.
auropunctata. Additionally, sampling in natural habitats could
enhance early detection efforts in protected areas and establish
effective management strategies for its rapid eradication.
We are very thankful to Dr Armin Ionescu (The
Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Tel Aviv University)
and Section Editor MSc Enrico Schifani (Department of
Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability,
Università degli Studi di Parma) for their valuable provided
information on the distribution of W. auropunctata in Israel
and Italy, respectively. We are also thankful to the anonymous
reviewers for their comments, suggestions and corrections
upon the manuscript. We would also like to thank the UK
Government through Darwin Plus (DPLUS0124), for funding
this project and material surveys of Jakovos Demetriou.
Authors’ Contributions
Conceptualization: JD, SS; Methodology: JD, CG, LB, SS;
Software: JD; Validation Verication: LB, SS; Formal analysis:
JD; Investigation: JD, CG, AFM, HER, LB, SS; Resources: JD,
CG, AFM, HER, LB, SS; Data Curation: JD; Writing-Original
Draft: JD, SS; Writing-Review & Editing: JD, CG, AFM, HER,
LB, SS; Visualization: JD, LB; Supervision: AFM, HER, LB,
SS; Project administration: SS; Funding acquisition: AFM,
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... A literature review was carried out to collate all available records of alien ants reported from Cyprus including species catalogued in the Global Ant Biodiversity Informatics (GABI) database (Janicki et al. 2016;Guénard et al. 2017) and scientific literature (Emery 1909(Emery , 1910Georghiou 1977;Georgiadis et al. 2017;Salata et al. 2019;Demetriou et al. 2022Demetriou et al. , 2023a. In addition, specimens collected in the field by the authors on the island during 2012, 2021 and 2022, deposited in the collections of L. Borowiec and S. Salata (Department of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Taxonomy, University of Wrocław, Poland -DBET), Ch. ...
... In particular, records of Cardiocondyla nuda (Mayr, 1866), Monomorium pharaonis (Linnaeus, 1758), Nylanderia vividula (Nylander, 1846) and Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804) are considered as dubious, while Hypoponera eduardi (Forel, 1894) and Monomorium subopacum (Smith, F., 1858) are currently considered as native to the island. Furthermore, eleven species are added, including the recently detected invasive alien Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger, 1863) (Demetriou et al. 2022), Camponotus cf. vitiosus ) and newly presented records of Pheidole fadli Sharaf, 2007, C. obscurior Wheeler, W.M., 1929, Tetramorium bicarinatum (Nylander, 1846, T. caldarium (Roger, 1857), T. immigrans Santschi, 1927, T. lanuginosum Mayr, 1870, Solenopsis sp_CYP139, T. mayri (Forel, 1902), and H. punctatissima (Roger, 1859 (Tables 1, 2). ...
... Fig. 7 Literature records. Demetriou et al. (2022). ...
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Biological invasions are considered a major driver of biodiversity loss, particularly on islands. Invasive alien ants can often have severe consequences on native biodiversity. Here, we review published and new information on alien ant species found on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, a biodiversity hotspot. Our checklist of alien ants of Cyprus includes a total of 17 species, of which nine are reported from Cyprus for the first time (*): Camponotus cf. vitiosus Smith, Cardiocondyla mauritanica Forel, 1890, Cardiocondyla obscurior Wheeler, W.M., 1929*, Hypoponera punctatissima (Roger, 1859)*, Monomorium bicolor Emery, 1877, Nylanderia jaegerskioeldi (Mayr, 1904), Paratrechina longicornis (Latreille, 1802), Pheidole fadli Sharaf, 2007*, Pheidole indica Mayr, 1879, Solenopsis sp. (thief ant)*, Tetramorium bicarinatum (Nylander, 1846)*, Tetramorium caldarium (Roger, 1857)*, Tetramorium immigrans Santschi, 1927*, Tetramorium lanuginosum Mayr, 1870*, Trichomyrmex destructor (Jerdon, 1851), Trichomyrmex mayri (Forel, 1902)*, and Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger, 1863). We did not include three previously reported alien species for which we could not find supporting specimens [Monomorium pharaonis (Linnaeus, 1758), Nylanderia vividula (Nylander, 1846), Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804)], one based on a previous misidentification [Cardiocondyla nuda (Mayr, 1866)], and two species now considered native to Cyprus [Hypoponera eduardi (Forel, 1894), Monomorium subopacum (F. Smith, 1858)]. Literature records, specimens from field surveys and museum collections, the geographic origin of species, occupied habitats in Cyprus, and notes on invasiveness (spread and impact) are presented for each species. An identification key to distinguish alien from native ant species in Cyprus is provided, including widespread alien ants not yet known from Cyprus in order to support early detection, monitoring, and management efforts.
... Wasmannia auropunctata was recently recorded in Europe, in the region of Malaga (southern Spain) (Espadaler et al. 2018) and in Cyprus (Demetriou et al. 2022(Demetriou et al. , 2023. It was first recorded in greenhouses in 1907 in the United Kingdom (Donisthorpe 1927) and in 1988 in the Netherlands during import inspection at the Plant Protection Service (Boer and Vierbergen 2008). ...
The little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, is one of the most widely distributed invasive alien ant species on earth, with major environmental, economic and sanitary impacts. Here we report the first established outdoor population of W. auropunctata in South East of France. We describe its detection, its extent and its early ecological impacts. Currently, the invaded area extends over around 1 ha. Given the area invaded and the first reports of stings in 2019, it is likely that W. auropunctata was introduced at least 5 years ago. Although the introduction is probably recent, negative impacts on the abundance and richness of native ants can already be observed. We have not yet recorded any impact on other arthropods. In parallel with identifying the pathway of introduction, an eradication plan is being prepared to tackle this major environmental and economic problem. Widespread species such as the little fire ant represent a new challenge for biosecurity monitoring for Europe.
... Cardiocondyla obscurior is presented for the first time for Greece. Nevertheless, the presence of widely distributed alien species such as Trichomyrmex destructor (Jerdon, 1851) (Wetterer 2009a), Tapinoma melanocephalum (Fabricius, 1793) (Wetterer 2009b), as well as the invasive Brachyponera chinensis (Emery, 1895) (Menchetti et al. 2022), and W. auropunctata gradually spreading throughout the Mediterranean (Vonshak and Ionescu-Hirsch 2009;Vonshak et al. , 2010Espadaler et al. 2018Espadaler et al. , 2020Demetriou et al. 2022), should be further investigated. This updated, commented checklist and analyses aim to provide an overview of the alien ants of Greece in order to enhance any necessary monitoring and strategic planning against invasive alien species, while simultaneously indicating future research needs. ...
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Biological invasions represent one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss with adverse impacts on human societies, economies and public health. More than 500 ant species have been transported outside their native range with the help of humans, while the majority of them have managed to establish viable populations in the wild. Nevertheless, data from the Mediterranean region suggest that most alien ants occupy anthropogenic habitats with little spread in semi-natural and natural habitats. Research on biological invasions of ants in Greece had previously identified a total of 15 alien ant species. In this article, an extensive literature investigation and material examination provide a revised checklist of the alien myrmecofauna of Greece. Although the number of alien ant species remains the same, the checklist's composition is largely altered to provide an up-to-date overview of the country's alien myrmecofauna in order to enhance management decisions and future research. The presence and distribution of alien ants within Greek administrative divisions, NATURA 2000 sites and Corine Land Cover types are analysed and presented. In particular , the species richness of alien ants seems to be highest in the Aegean Archipelago (Crete and Southern Aegean Islands) probably due to uneven collecting efforts and increased climatic suitability. Alien ant species are mostly associated with anthropogenic habitats including urban and agricultural areas, although a significant percentage has managed to spread into forest and semi-natural areas, including protected NATURA 2000 sites. Future research directions enhancing the monitoring of alien ants and their impacts are indicated to safeguard native ant biodiversity and conservation efforts of rare and endemic taxa.
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I present the updated version of the ‘Checklist of the Italian Fauna’ for what concerns ants (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Formicidae), which is part of the broader effort to produce an updated comprehensive checklist of the Italian fauna about 25 years after the first edition. The present list is the fourth Italian checklist of ants to be published since 1916, and refers to the state of art on November 2020. A simplified version of the data set is available as a supplementary file to this paper, while the full data set will be accessible in a regularly updated form from the LifeWatch Italy Data Portal ( Compared to the previous list by Poldi and others, published in 1995, the new one contains changes retrieved from 86 literature sources, including 17 published between 1921 and 1995 (which were missed in the previous checklist) and 69 published from 1996 to 2020. These references add 50 new species, including 9 new endemic species, as well as 68 nomenclatural changes and 88 distribution novelties at the regional level to the previous checklist. A total of 267 species and subspecies belonging to 7 ant subfamilies and 42 genera are part of the new list. The knowledge of the Italian ant fauna is rapidly improving on several fronts, and such dynamism is well-testified by the several novelties from 10 articles published after this dataset was compiled, to be included in the first future update of the on-line checklist. A further new list with extensive comments, detailed species distribution and biogeographic consideration will be desirable as soon as the situation stabilizes.
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Background The Malagasy Region, one of the top megadiversity regions, hosts one of the highest numbers of endemic and threatened organisms on earth. One of the most spectacular examples of ant radiation on the island has occurred in the hyperdiverse genus Pheidole . To this date, there are 135 described Madagascan Pheidole divided into 16 species-groups, and 97% of Malagasy species are endemic to the island. This study is a taxonomic revision of the Pheidole megacephala group, one of only two species-groups comprising a combination of native, endemic taxa and widely distributed introduced species. Methods The diversity of the Malagasy members of the megacephala group was assessed via application of qualitative morphological and DNA sequence data. Qualitative, external morphological characteristics ( e.g., head shape, gaster sculpture, body colouration) were evaluated in order to create a priori grouping hypotheses, and confirm and improve species delimitation. Mitochondrial DNA sequences from cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene fragments were analyzed to test the putative species previously delimited by morphological analyses. Results We recognize three species belonging to the megacephala group: P. megacephala (Fabricius, 1793), P. megatron Fischer & Fisher, 2013 and P. spinosa Forel, 1891 stat. nov. Pheidole spinosa is redescribed and elevated to the species level. The following names are recognized as junior synonyms of P. spinosa : P. megacephala scabrior Forel, 1891 syn. nov. , P. picata Forel, 1891 syn. nov. , P. picata gietleni Forel, 1905 syn. nov. , P. picata bernhardae Emery, 1915 syn. nov. , and P. decepticon Fischer & Fisher, 2013 syn. nov. The results are supplemented with an identification key to species for major workers of the megacephala group, high-resolution images for major and minor workers, and comments on the distribution and biology of all Malagasy members of the group. Our study revealed that Pheidole megacephala , a species listed among the 100 worst invasive species worldwide, occurs in both natural and disturbed sites in the Malagasy region. The two remaining members of the megacephala group, most likely endemic to this region, are also present in anthropogenic habitats and often co-occur with P. megacephala . It appears that the Malagasy members of the group are generalists and dominant in anthropogenic habitats. Additionally, we documented the presence of supermajors in colonies of P. spinosa —a phenomenon previously not known for this group.
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Two new European populations of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger, 1863), nesting outdoors, have been detected in the municipalities of Mijas Costa and Estepona (Málaga).
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Invasive alien species (IAS) are known to be a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystem function and there is increasing evidence of their impacts on human health and economies globally. We undertook horizon scanning using expert-elicitation to predict arrivals of IAS that could have adverse human health or economic impacts on the island of Cyprus. Three hundred and twenty five IAS comprising 89 plants, 37 freshwater animals, 61 terrestrial invertebrates, 93 terrestrial vertebrates, and 45 marine species, were assessed during a two-day workshop involving 39 participants to derive two ranked lists: (1) IAS with potential human health impacts (20 species ranked within two bands: 1-10 species or 11-20 species); and, (2) IAS with potential economic impacts (50 species ranked in three bands of 1-10, 11-20, and 21-50). Five species of mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti, Aedes albopictus, Aedes flavopictus, Aedes japonicus, and Culex quinquefasciatus) were considered a potential threat to both human health and economies. It was evident that the IAS identified through this process could potentially arrive through many pathways (25 and 23 pathways were noted for the top 20 IAS on the human health and economic impact lists respectively). The Convention on Biological Diversity Level II (subcategory) pathways Contaminant on plants, pet/aquarium/terrarium species (including live food for such species), hitchhikers in or on aeroplanes, hitchhikers in or on ship/boats, and vehicles were the main pathways that arose across both lists. We discuss the potential of horizon scanning lists to inform biosecurity policies and communication around IAS, highlighting the importance of increasing understanding amongst all stakeholders, including the public, to reduce the risks associated with predicted IAS arrivals.
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Biological invasions are a global consequence of an increasingly connected world and the rise in human population size. The numbers of invasive alien species – the subset of alien species that spread widely in areas where they are not native, affecting the environment or human livelihoods – are increasing. Synergies with other global changes are exacerbating current invasions and facilitating new ones, thereby escalating the extent and impacts of invaders. Invasions have complex and often immense long‐term direct and indirect impacts. In many cases, such impacts become apparent or problematic only when invaders are well established and have large ranges. Invasive alien species break down biogeographic realms, affect native species richness and abundance, increase the risk of native species extinction, affect the genetic composition of native populations, change native animal behaviour, alter phylogenetic diversity across communities, and modify trophic networks. Many invasive alien species also change ecosystem functioning and the delivery of ecosystem services by altering nutrient and contaminant cycling, hydrology, habitat structure, and disturbance regimes. These biodiversity and ecosystem impacts are accelerating and will increase further in the future. Scientific evidence has identified policy strategies to reduce future invasions, but these strategies are often insufficiently implemented. For some nations, notably Australia and New Zealand, biosecurity has become a national priority. There have been long‐term successes, such as eradication of rats and cats on increasingly large islands and biological control of weeds across continental areas. However, in many countries, invasions receive little attention. Improved international cooperation is crucial to reduce the impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity, ecosystem services, and human livelihoods. Countries can strengthen their biosecurity regulations to implement and enforce more effective management strategies that should also address other global changes that interact with invasions.
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Fifteen invasive ant species from Greece and Cyprus are recorded. Their biology and habitat preferences in eastern Mediterranean Region are discussed. Historical and non-published records of all listed species are summarized. Tetramorium bicarinatum is recorded for the first time from Greece while Paratrechina longicornis and Pheidole indica are new for Cypriot fauna. Uncertain data concerning Anoplolepis gracilipes, Pheidole megacephala and Monomorium destructor are discussed.
Introduction: The little fire ant (LFA) is an invasive ant species, increasingly found in wide distribution in Israel. Although it's sting is painful and itchy, for the most part, no serious adverse effects have been reported so far. We describe the case of a young boy with recurrent, life threatening anaphylactic reactions after stings, all occurring during the summer months, in areas where LFA infestations have been identified. An ad hoc skin test, developed with the cooperation of the allergy and entomology team, identified an immediate IgE-mediated reaction to LFA whole body extract, present in our patients and absent in healthy controls. This report may be the first identifying the LFA as a potential cause of severe anaphylactic reactions, but unfortunately, given the wide spread of these pests, it may be that such unrecognized reactions have already been treated by medical teams and misclassified as idiopathic anaphylaxis.
Native plants and animals can rapidly become superabundant and dominate ecosystems, leading to claims that native species are no less likely than alien species to cause environmental damage, including biodiversity loss. We compared how frequently alien and native species have been implicated as drivers of recent extinctions in a comprehensive global database, the 2017 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Alien species were considered to be a contributing cause of 25% of plant extinctions and 33% of animal extinctions, whereas native species were implicated in less than 5% and 3% of plant and animal extinctions, respectively. When listed as a putative driver of recent extinctions, native species were more often associated with other extinction drivers than were alien species. Our results offer additional evidence that the biogeographic origin, and hence evolutionary history, of a species are determining factors of its potential to cause disruptive environmental impacts.