Ant Mega-Colony Takes Over The World

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Super-colony of ants rivals human society as population stretches around the globe

Argentine ants from three huge colonies in Europe, America and Japan are actually part of one global super-colony, scientists have revealed.

The aggressive insects were first native to South America but humans have since spread them to the four corners of the globe by mistake. The ants have quickly become nuisance pests and attacked crops and even native animals.

But while they are usually highly territorial, researchers found billions of ants living on three different continents refused to fight each other, according to BBC Earth News.

Argentine ants

Argentine ants work together to care for a larva. Scientists have discovered a mega-colony of this invasive insect species that stretches across the globe

Argentine ants

Two Argentine ants exchange aphid dew. Colonies of these ants 'farm' aphids, keeping them close by as a ready source of sugar

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clipped from news.bbc.co.uk
Ant mega-colony takes over world
Queen and worker Argentine ant (Linepithema humile)

The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.

What's more, people are unwittingly helping the mega-colony stick together.

Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) were once native to South America. But people have unintentionally introduced the ants to all continents except Antarctica.

These introduced Argentine ants are renowned for forming large colonies, and for becoming a significant pest, attacking native animals and crops.

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clipped from www.abc.net.au

Argentine Ants

Argentine AntsOne of the biggest feral supercolonies in the world is taking over Melbourne. The invaders are Argentine Ants, and they’ve formed a mafia that has systematically wrestled control of the suburbs from the native ants over the last 50 years. We find out how they managed to stage such a massive coup and what effects they are having on the native ecosystems.

clipped from en.wikipedia.org
Ant colony
Unicoloniality and supercolonies

Most commonly, ants from different nests exhibit aggression toward each other. However, some ants exhibit the phenomenon called unicoloniality, where worker ants freely mix between different nests. A group of nests where ants do not exhibit mutual aggression is known as a supercolony - this form of organization is known as supercoloniality, and ants from different supercolonies of the same species do exhibit mutual aggression. Populations in supercolonies do not necessarily span a contiguous area. [2]

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  1. Super-colony of ants rivals human society as population stretches around the globe | Mail Online
  2. BBC - Earth News - Ant mega-colony takes over world
  3. Catalyst: Argentine Ants - ABC TV Science
  4. Ant colony - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  1. Multibillion Ant “Megacolony” Set to Take Over the Globe | Discoblog | Discover Magazine