Friday, September 21, 2012

Rasberry crazy ant finally identified

        For those of you following the saga of the effort to correctly identify the "Rasberry crazy ant" to genus and species you will be happy to know that this information is now published. Click on title to see full publication.

The Importance of Using Multiple Approaches for Identifying Emerging Invasive Species: The Case of the Rasberry Crazy Ant in the United States 
Dietrich Gotzek (1), Sea´n G. Brady (1), Robert J. Kallal (2) , John S. LaPolla (2)
1 Department of Entomology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, 
2 Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University, Towson, Maryland, United States of America

        The authors of the above publication said that they identified this highly invasive pest species as Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) by using morphometric data measured from 14 characters, molecular sequence data consisting of 4,669 aligned nucleotide sites from six independent loci and comparison with type specimens.  For those of you scratching your heads, this just means that not only was classical visual identification techniques used but data at the molecular level was used to genetically compare the various specimen samples.
         A proposed common name for Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) may be the Tawny crazy ant among other names being bantered about.  We will see.  The word "fulva" is Latin for tawny.  The ant may be identified now but we are still having issues identifying good control strategies to reduce the numbers of this pest.

Newly identified Nylanderia fulva (Mayr)

Newly identified Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) feeding on honeydew
        To view more historical information on this pest visit the Center for Urban & Structural Entomology webpage.

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