@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

An Alumni Publication   Archive vol1no3 Contact
 
Up Front: Letters to and from the editor
Campus Currents: UCSD Stories
Shelf Life: Books
Cliff Notes: Student life and sports
Class Notes: Alumni profiles
Campaign Update: Imagine the Future
Looking Back: Thoughts on UCSD
Credits: Staff and Contributors
Features

The Long Goodbye
Drawing on Tribal      History
Celebrating Our Sun      God
Ask Jeeves

Making Waves

Iran and Nukes
Cover Up
Tough Toucan
Alient Ant Hitchhikers
Pod People
Reef Relief

Archive

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 

Features May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2
   

Alien Ant Hitchhikers

 
     

 

Are you an entomophobe, fearing an alien insect invasion in your next bunch of foreign grapes or bananas? If so, we have good news. Not every ant hitchhiker portends an infestation. According to a study conducted by UCSD biologists, species that hitchhike have no guarantee of successful colonization. Of 232 species of uninvited ants that entered U.S. ports from 1927 to 1985, the scientists found only 28 species, or 12 percent, established themselves as non-native species.

Andrew Suarez, a former UCSD doctoral student who headed the study, says the biologists found the alien ants that became established were either ground-nesting species, or arboreal species that did not depend solely on specific types
of trees common to their native lands.

“This kind of information is important,” says Suarez, “because it’s going to help us to identify the characteristics that may promote the success of non-native organisms. Eventually, we can use this information to keep the new wave
of invaders from becoming established.”

So next time you see a column of ants heading for your picnic, be sure to check their passports.

RELATED LINKS

UCSD News Release
VIEW

 

 
"This kind of information is important because it’s going to help us to identify the characteristics that may promote the success of non-native organisms."