Australia: crazy ants destroy the world?

22.07.2004

22.07.2004


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"This tiny ant will destroy our culture, our land, our lives, so we have to kill him now," — said Balapalu Yunapingu (Balupalu Yunupingu), a ranger with the Peninsula Arnhem Land, in northern Australia. To kill the yellow crazy ant helicopters in the air will rise.

Crazy and frantic and crazy (Yellow Crazy Ants), these ants are named for the frenetic behavior and chaotic traffic.

According to a scientific classification, name them — Anoplolepis gracilipes. This yellow leggy melkotnya, according to the database on the most dangerous global invaders (Global Invasive Species Database), is one of the most aggressive species on the planet and is among the worst in the world a hundred occupiers (100 of the World "s Worst Invasive Alien Species) .

Entomologists believe that the birthplace of these insects — West Africa, India or China, and they have spread around the world thanks to a man. The invasion of ants contributed to the development of trade, as these invaders can travel to almost anything: in the soil, timber, packaging materials, coconuts, coffee, cocoa, and on all vehicles — cars, ships, planes.

They eat too with anything. Although the ant is considered a "clearing away debris predator", this does not prevent him to hunt for insects, spiders, crabs, birds, mammals and reptiles. In addition to these high-protein "foods" pest gets carbohydrates and amino acids from plants.

One of the most striking examples of the destructive capabilities of this ant is the impact of his attack on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.

Here, the yellow crazy ants, starting from 1989, created supercolonies and killed 15-20 million red crabs — 30% of the total population. This has led to major changes in the ecosystem of the island and threatened a lot of rare and endangered species.

The same thing is happening on the Peninsula Arnhem (Arnhem Land), where the pest has got, apparently, during the Second World War — when American ships often shuttled between Australia and the crazy ant inhabited islands in the South Pacific.

To date, the invaders took over 25,000 square kilometers of land, severely competing with "spineless" by residents or killing them. The density of ants in supercolonies amazing — it reaches 1 thousand insects per square meter, or 79 million per hectare bush.

By the way, supercolonies yellow ant called lunatics, but unfortunately in a "nest" can simultaneously accommodate about 300 ewes and from 2,500 to 36,000 ant workers.

Breeding periods can alternate throughout the year, but most of the offspring born to the beginning of the wet season. Eggs appear 18-20 days after mating, and larvae "workers" are developing for 16-20 days. Dolls "workers" take approximately 20 days and pupal females — 30-34 days. Live, these pests 76-84 days.

But back to the north of Australia, where billions of yellow crazy ants will be poisoned by the environmentalists of the state organization CSIRO (Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) for the salvation of the other inhabitants of the peninsula.

It should be noted that consuming Anoplolepis gracilipes is necessary not only for the sake of being in a state of decline of native ants and rare species of butterflies (Euploea alcathoe enastri).

Large animals such as kangaroos and opossums, because the aggressor also have to fight for survival.

In a sense, may suffer even people: local residents are already talking about reducing the food supply, as the tastes of the ant invaders and natives sometimes coincide, for example, when it comes to berries.

By the way, we did not explain how the yellow crazy could kill as many crabs.

The fact that they are injected into the eyes of his victims formic acid, blinding them and thus dooming to death by starvation. Then predators attack the defenseless and devour.

In general, CSIRO plans to fight the ants in the colony dropping from helicopters specially designed pellets of poison.

Pellets — it balls called Presto, containing fish meal, which the ants, like, love, hate and other animals can not.

As the flour mixed with the insecticide Fipronil in a small concentration to an ant to death managed to drag the bait to the colony and poison are all in it.

Christmas Island poison has proved to be excellent, so the CSIRO hope within the next year to destroy 75% of the yellow crazy ant, and then completely destroy the invaders.

Battery News, 21.07.2004 9:52
Source: Membrana

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