Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Yellow crazy ants - Australian nightmare

"This tiny ant will destroy our culture, our ground, our life so we should kill it right now" sad the Australian ranger from the Christmas Island. For killing that yellow mad ants, helicopters rise to the sky.

So, why that ants is so dangerous?
yellow crazy ant

Crazy, and also mad (Yellow Crazy Ants), these ants have been named for feverish behavior and chaotic movements.
On scientific classification, a name of those ants is "Anoplolepis gracilipes".
This yellow long-lagged small insect, according to the "Database of the most dangerous aggressors on a global scale" (Global Invasive Species Database), is the one of the most aggressive species on a planet and included into the "100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species".

Entomologists consider, that the native land of these insects is the Western Africa, India or China. They spread all over the world with help of human being. Development of trade assists to the invasion of the ants because these aggressors can travel practically in everything: in ground, wood, packing materials, in coconuts, coffee, cocoa, and on any vehicles - cars, ships, planes.

yellow crazy ants yellow crazy ants

They eat everything that saw. Though the ant also is considered as "a predator cleaning garbage", it does not prevent to hunt on
spiders, crabs, birds, mammals and reptiles. In addition to this "foodstuff" rich with fibes, the wrecker receives carbohydrates and amino acids from plants.

One of the vivid examples of ant's destructive abilities is an attack to Christmas Island in Indian Ocean.
Here yellow mad ants, since 1989, have created supercolonies and have killed 15-20 million red crabs - 30% of all population.
It has led to the serious changes in ecosystem of the island and has threatened weight of rare and dying out kinds.

The same occurs now on peninsula Arnhemland(Arnhem Land) where the wrecker has invade, apparently, during the Second World war.
American vessels often plied between Australia and islands, occupied by the mad ants, in the south of Pacific Ocean.

yellow crazy ants

For today invaders have grasped 25 thousand square kilometers of the ground, severely competing with "spineless" residents or killing them. The density in the ant’s supercolonies is surprising - its reaches 1 thousand insects on square meter or 79 million on hectare of a bush.

By the way, ant hills of yellow mad ants named supercolonies knowingly: 300 queens and 2,5-36 thousands ant-workers can live lumpsum just in one "jack"!
yellow crazy ants

The periods of duplication can alternate during the year, but in most cases the posterity is born to the beginning of a damp season.

Eggs appear in 18-20 days after pairing and larvas of the workers demands approximately 20 days, and queen-larvas - 30-40 days. Ants live 76-84 days.

yellow crazy ants
Ant queen

However we shall return to the north of Australia, where billions yellow mad ants will be poisoned by ecologists from state organization, named CSIRO (Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) for the sake of rescue other inhabitants of peninsula.

It is necessary to note that to destroy Anoplolepis gracilipes is necessary not only for the sake of native ants, being on the decline and rare kinds of butterflies(Euploea alcathoe enastri).

Large animals, like a kangaroo and opossums also should struggle for a survival, because of an aggressor.

People can suffer too: local residents already speak about reduction of stocks of food, as tastes of aggressors and natives sometimes coincide, for example, if it is berries.

yellow crazy ants

By then way, we have not explained, how yellow mad ants could kill so much crabs.

The matter is that they inject an ant acid into eyes of the victims, blinding them, and, that, dooming on starvation. Then predators snatch on a defenseless essence and devour it.

yellow crazy ants
Crab, killed by ants

In general, CSIRO plans to fight with ants, dumping granules of specially created poison to the colonies from helicopters.
Granules are balls under name "Presto", containing a fish flour which ants, like as, love, and other animals cannot suffer.
It mixed with a Fipronul in small concentration for the ant has had time before death, to drag bait in a colony and to poison all in the being.

On Christmas island, poison has proved perfectly, therefore people in CSIRO hopes to destroy up to 75% of yellow ants within the nearest year and, then, completely to exterminate aggressors.


Arief said...

There's a simple solution. Just get some animal that eat ants. I'm forget their name. But they're eating ants and do not harm the crab.

Don't have to use chemical or poison, cause in some cases it will make some mutant that will make the ants to become resistent to the poison.

Peter said...

Areif, that is a stupid comment, the cane toad was introduced to australia to eat a beetle, it no eat any beetle and kill many native and delighted creaters that here live. they now are plauge, and still have evil beetle too!

poison is better, it does not reproduce or compete with locals

MYLO said...

Fipronil based txins are the best but stupid chemical companies will not produce any fipronil to kill social insects.

If Arif was talking about ant-eater--that lap up hundreds of ants in one flick of the tongue then bad luck dude--these ants are far too aggressive for ant eaters--how about some formic acid spray on the tongue--dont think the anteater would take it either.

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