Saturday, September 30, 2023

Alert for one of the most dangerous species

The fire ant (Solenopsis invincible) considered one of the most invasive species in the world for the evil with which it displaces native species, and for its effect on the human population. Native to South America, the venom of its bites is extreme painful and cause allergic reactions which can cause death. Now, a study published in Current Biology proves that they have nested in Europe, especially in the Mediterranean.

The authors, in which researchers from the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), the CSIC and the UPF, found up to 88 nests spread over five acres near Syracuse, in Sicily (Italy). Although fire ants introduced in imported goods have been found in Spain, Finland and the Netherlands, this is the first evidence that this insect has begun to colonize Europe as it has already done in the United States and China. The assumption is that the queens came from the port of Syracuse to a relatively remote place to settle.

These invasive species “pose a global threat,” explained Joaquín L. Reyes-López, professor in the area of ​​Ecology at the University of Córdoba, in the statements of Science Media Center. “In areas favorable for its habitat, coastal or humid areas, it can cause serious damage to local ecosystems. In addition, it constitutes a serious problem for people’s health because of their bites.

“The fire ant is one of the worst invasive species,” confirmed Elena Angulo, researcher at the Doñana Biological Station (CSIC). “There is very strong sting, which can cause significant allergic reactions in people and even lead to death. In places where it is established as an invasive exotic species, such as China, the United States or Australia, it has a high impact on health and well-being, as well as on economic sectors such as agriculture. Its control over those countries means an expenditure of billions of euros“.

“The red fire ant is a type of ant more dominant from the ecological and behavioral point of view of their homeland, “said the expert Luis Calcaterra, Principal Investigator of the Foundation for the Study of Invasive Species (FuEDEI) and the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) of Argentina.” They can reach density up to ten times higher than native ant species and thus dominate most potential food sources.

The study suggests that, as global warming continues, fire ants could colonize 7% of Europe and They are often in cities like “Barcelona,​​​​​​London, Rome or Paris”. The effect of “hot island” done in big cities, Calcaterra emphasized, helps to multiply this species. For his part, Gema Trigos Peral, researcher in the department of social insects and myrmecophiles at the Museum and Institute of Zoology in Warsaw (Poland), questions the assumption that they will reach northern Europe, if more variables come into play beyond climate.

However the the jump in our country seems more believable. “Spain will be one of the most affected countries,” Trigos confirmed. “There is a perfect climate and a wide variety of habitats (although these ants mostly like places that have been modified by humans, such as urban and agricultural areas).” Therefore, the specialist remembers that in 2007 a person with bite symptoms invincible in St. These ants, he warned, reached “For sale” among groups of anthill fans.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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