Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Invasive Rasberry Crazy Ant


The genus Nylanderia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Lasiini) currently includes 134 valid species and subspecies worldwide (LaPolla et al. 2010). Fifteen described species, including nine native and six introduced species, have been collected in the continental United States (Bolton et al. 2006, Trager 1984, Meyers 2008). Formerly, Nylanderia was considered to be a subgenus of Paratrechina and was only recently elevated to the generic level by LaPolla et al. (2010); consequently, it is referred to as Paratrechina in most of the literature.
In 2002, large populations of an unknown Nylanderia species were discovered in Houston, Texas. After examination by taxonomic specialists, these ants were determined to be similar to Nylanderia pubens, the hairy crazy ant (Meyers 2008), known to occur in the Neotropical Region and in Florida (Wetterer and Keularts 2008), and similar to N. fulva (Mayr), which is native to South America (Meyers 2008). However, due to taxonomic uncertainty, this species has not been definitively identified as N. pubens, N. fulva or any of its eight subspecies, or even as an undescribed species. Therefore, at this time it is being identified as N. sp. near pubens (Meyers and Gold 2008), but it could also be referred to as N. sp. fulva group. It has been given the common name of the Rasberry crazy ant in honor of Tom Rasberry, the pest control operator who first discovered it in Texas; however, this common name might change when the identity of this species is determined.

Read the Midsouth Entomologist Study

Midsouth Entomologist 3: 44–47
ISSN: 1936-6019
© 2010, Mississippi Entomological Association Report

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