Nav: Home

Give an ant a nice place to stay and it might stick around

December 01, 2005

Many alien insects enter the United States as hitchhikers on imported plants. But how many live long and prosper?

Although conventional thinking says the answer lies in the numbers of insects and how many times they enter, new UC Davis findings published recently online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggest that opportunity alone is no guarantee of a successful invasion.

In a study of accidentally imported ants in the U.S., 12 percent of the species took up residence here. The key to their success was finding nesting sites like those they left behind.

"This investigation helps us better understand which characteristics make organisms successful invaders," said Philip Ward, a UC Davis professor of entomology.

The new findings arose from studies by Ward and a postdoctoral student, Andrew Suarez, who is now a professor in the entomology and animal biology departments at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Suarez discovered a gold mine of untapped ant history in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History: samples of ants intercepted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1927 to 1985 at ports of entry around the country. Ward and Suarez spent years identifying 232 different species from 394 samples. Then they teamed with David Holway, a professor of biology at UC San Diego, to analyze their discoveries.
-end-
Media contact(s):
Philip Ward, Entomology, (530) 752-0486, psward@ucdavis.edu
Sylvia Wright, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-7704, swright@ucdavis.edu

University of California - Davis

Related Agriculture Articles:

Urban agriculture only provides small environmental benefits in northeastern US
'Buy local' sounds like a great environmental slogan, epitomized for city dwellers by urban agriculture.
Scientists say agriculture is good for honey bees
Scientists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture evaluated the impacts of row-crop agriculture, including the traditional use of pesticides, on honey bee health.
Widely accepted vision for agriculture may be inaccurate, misleading
'Food production must double by 2050 to feed the world's growing population.' This truism has been repeated so often in recent years that it has become widely accepted among academics, policymakers and farmers, but now researchers are challenging this assertion and suggesting a new vision for the future of agriculture.
New effort to promote careers in agriculture, natural resources
A new round of grants from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture is designed to promote careers in agriculture and natural resource management, and educators with the University of Tennessee Departments of Plant Sciences and Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communications (ALEC) are among the grant recipients.
Corn yield modeling towards sustainable agriculture
Researchers use a 16 year field-experiment dataset to show the ability of a model to fine-tune optimal nitrogen fertilizer rates, and identify five ways it can inform nitrogen management guidelines.
Small-scale agriculture threatens the rainforest
An extensive study led by a researcher at Lund University in Sweden has mapped the effects of small farmers on the rain forests of Southeast Asia for the first time.
Space agriculture topic of symposium
New frontiers of soil and plant sciences may grow crops in space.
Measure of age in soil nitrogen could help precision agriculture
What's good for crops is not always good for the environment.
Invasive species could cause billions in damages to agriculture
Invasive insects and pathogens could be a multi-billion- dollar threat to global agriculture and developing countries may be the biggest target, according to a team of international researchers.
Males were saved by agriculture
The emergence of agriculture is suggested to have driven extensive human population growth.

Related Agriculture Reading:

Science in Agriculture: Advanced Methods for Sustainable Farming
by Arden B. Andersen (Author)

Restoration Agriculture
by Mark Shepard (Author)

A Revolution Down on the Farm: The Transformation of American Agriculture since 1929
by Paul K. Conkin (Author)

Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate
by Laura Lengnick (Author)

Agriculture: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Paul Brassley (Author), Richard Soffe (Author)

The Farmer's Office: Tools, Tips and Templates to Successfully Manage a Growing Farm Business
by Julia Shanks (Author)

Agriculture: Spiritual Foundations for the Renewal of Agriculture
by Rudolf Steiner (Author), Catherine E. Creeger (Author)

Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers
by Acres U.S.A.

A History of World Agriculture: From the Neolithic Age to the Current Crisis
by Marcel Mazoyer (Author), Laurence Roudart (Author)

Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible
by Ellen F. Davis (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Hacking The Law
We have a vision of justice as blind, impartial, and fair — but in reality, the law often fails those who need it most. This hour, TED speakers explore radical ways to change the legal system. Guests include lawyer and social justice advocate Robin Steinberg, animal rights lawyer Steven Wise, political activist Brett Hennig, and lawyer and social entrepreneur Vivek Maru.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#495 Earth Science in Space
Some worlds are made of sand. Some are made of water. Some are even made of salt. In science fiction and fantasy, planet can be made of whatever you want. But what does that mean for how the planets themselves work? When in doubt, throw an asteroid at it. This is a live show recorded at the 2018 Dragon Con in Atlanta Georgia. Featuring Travor Valle, Mika McKinnon, David Moscato, Scott Harris, and moderated by our own Bethany Brookshire. Note: The sound isn't as good as we'd hoped but we love the guests and the conversation and we wanted to...