Peace. it's not so wonderful when Argentinean ants move to Australia

Super ant colony hits Australia

What is it about Australia, first convicts, then rabbits, now ants ... imported species running amok?

A giant colony of ants stretching 100km (62 miles) has been discovered in the
Australian city of Melbourne, threatening local insect species.

The ants were imported from Argentina and are right up there among the world's 100 worst animal invaders. Back home, their natural aggression amongst themselves kept their numbers under control so population never exploded and they were no threat to other plants and animals.


In the words of Dr. Elissa Suhr from Monash University, Melbourne, who has been watching them:

"When they arrived in Australia, in 1939, a change in their structure occurred, changing their behaviour so that they are not aggressive towards one another. This has resulted in the colonies becoming one super colony ... the Argentine ants have killed native ants, and consumed many other insects, posing a major threat to biodiversity ... Argentine ants could even displace native species by taking over local habitats and preying on insects commonly eaten by Australian ants."

Don't laugh at them -- Australia is not alone in this:

"In California, they have displaced native ants, decreased the diversity of other native insects, affected the dispersal of seeds and even decreased lizard numbers."

And now they're checking, because they're worried that IF they also share common genetic structure with the ant colonies in Perth and Adelaide, a super colony several thousand miles wide could spread across southern Australia.

But wait -- isn't there any good news here?


Because the other bad news might work out -- This report showed up over a year ago, in February of 2003:

Killer ants threaten Australia

An infestation of ants which is attacking numerous animal species in Australia is threatening to spread across the country, scientists have warned.
Described as one of the world's most vicious species of ant, the Yellow Crazy Ant sprays formic acid into the eyes of other animals, leaving them vulnerable to attack and unable to feed themselves.


Ants that spray formic acid into other animals' eyes?!!

They call them "crazy" because they go postal when a nest is disturbed, and they're mean muthas:

The ants have already wiped out up to 20 million red crabs, as well as birds and other animals on Australia's Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean since 1989, and have since spread to 63 locations in the Northern Territory on the mainland.

They're originally from India and best guess is they were introduced to Australia about 60 to 70 years ago.

Which leaves us with only one question -- will the Argentinean ants meet up with the Crazy Ants of the Yellow Peril and go head-to-head? And then we shall see:

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Formicidae Smackdown!

No prisoners, no survivors, last ant standing wins!!

It's been a long time coming and now the showdown we've been waiting for -- they finally meet near Ayers Rock (see map) with no holds barred!

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

(Be early and climb high -- the only safe spot is the top of the rock)

But not to change your schedule yet -- Australia is big, and the Crazy Yellows are up Northwest while Melbourne is down Southeast... figure on the big showdown somewhere around March or April of 2168. Put it on your calendar so you won't forget.


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