Monday, December 10, 2007 - 8:41 AM

Succession of invasive ant species in residential environments of Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico

Preston Brown,, Dini M. Miller,, and Carlyle C. Brewster, Virginia Tech, Entomology, 216A Price Hall, Virginia Tech (0319), Blacksburg, VA

The invasive ant species complex was determined within three Puerto Rican housing developments of different ages (one, four, and eight years old). Frequency and relative abundance data were collected and spatiotemporal analysis mapped the location of each species within the sites. A total of 20 different ant species were identified from the sites with the major pest species being red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta), big-headed ants (Pheidole spp.), crazy ants (Paratrechina longicornis), and rover ants (Brachymyrmex sp.). S. invicta and Brachymyrmex sp. were the first species to invade the one-year-old site. However, sampling data indicated that S. invicta had a high sampling frequency and was the most abundant. In the four-year-old site four different species (S. invicta, P. longicornis, Brachymyrmex sp. and Pheidole spp.) accounted for 86% of the samples collected, while additional species (Monomorium destructor, Tapinoma melanocephalum, and Cardiocondyla emeryi) made up < 15%. Sampling data from the eight-year-old site indicated that although 12 species were present, S. invicta and Pheidole spp. were both the most frequently sampled and the most abundant. From this data, I concluded that although S. invicta is a dominant species within housing developments of all ages, many other species are able to co-exist. Furthermore, individual species like Brachymyrmex sp. and Pheidole spp. are able to challenge the dominance of S. invicta in these residential environments.

Species 1: Hymenoptera Formicidae Solenopsis invicta (red imported fire ant)
Species 2: Hymenoptera Formicidae Pheidole (big-headed ant)
Species 3: Hymenoptera Formicidae Brachymyrmex (rover ant)