Submitted to: Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/14/2011
Publication Date: 2/25/2011
Publication URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/55656
Citation: Ascunce, M.S., Yang, C., Oakey, J., Calcaterra, L., Wu, W., Shih, C., Goudet, J., Ross, K.G., Shoemaker, D.D. 2011. Global invasion history of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta. Science. 331:1066-1068. Interpretive Summary: Fire ants are considered significant ecological, agricultural, and public health pest throughout their invasive range in the U.S.A. Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS, Gainesville, Florida and scientists from several institutions around the world describe here the results of a study aimed at reconstructing the global invasion history of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta. The results of this study clearly show that this pest ant has been inadvertently introduced into countries of the Pacific Rim on at least nine separate occasions and that the main southern USA population is the immediate source of all but one of these introductions. These results suggest that recently increased global trade and travel greatly enhance the potential for further worldwide spread of this destructive invasive ant from currently infested areas.
Technical Abstract: The fire ant Solenopsis invicta is a serious agricultural, ecological, and public health pest that was inadvertently introduced into the southern USA almost a century ago and into California and other regions of the world more recently. An assessment of genetic variation at a diverse set of molecular markers in 2,144 colonies from 75 geographic sites worldwide revealed that at least nine separate introductions of S. invicta have occurred into newly invaded areas (NIAs) and that the main southern USA population likely is the immediate source of all but one of these introductions. The sole exception involves a putative serial invasion event from the southern USA to California to southern Taiwan. These results suggest that recently increased global trade and travel greatly enhance the potential for further worldwide spread of this destructive invasive ant from currently 42 infested areas.