Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Ants Go Marching

I was trying to find a nice range map showing the global distribution of the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) for my students but it turned out that I couldn't easily find any range map at all*. So I made my own using the world66 website and a little bit of my own tweaking:

range map for the Argentine ant

The native range is marked in green, introduced range in the classic shade of warning and danger (red).

Here is the text list of countries as well:

Introduced in:
New Zealand
South Africa
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom (UK)
United States (USA)

Native to:

That's a pretty impressive distribution, especially given that the list likely isn't complete.

(Source for range data: Global Invasive Species Database)

*Update 4/2008: Alex has provided a link to a much nicer distribution map in the comments. Thanks Alex!


biotunes said...

Not to belittle the impressive impact of Argentine ant around the world, but it's worth pointing out that the map resolution is by country; thus, all of the U.S. is red although the ants (hopefully) won't be invading northern states (such as Montana) anytime soon.

Incidentally, have you read the work that suggests that the reason the Argentine ant is so successful in other regions is actually due to a genetic bottleneck that prevents different colonies from recognizing each other as the enemy? Fascinating reversal of the idea that genetic bottlenecks tend to be bad for a species.

Jennifer Forman Orth said...

Oh of course - this was meant just to show the wide distribution. If you click on the link to the GISD you will get a list of countries and you can see the specific location data by clicking on any one of them.

My class did read a paper from the Tsutsui lab on the lack of genetic variation present in the supercolonies. We covered a bit of disputing evidence from the Gordon lab as well.

Alex said...

Ok, I'm way late to this party, but I've drawn up a more accurate Argentine Ant map here:

How to identify Argentine Ants

(Argie ant distribution was part of my dissertation...)

Jennifer Forman Orth said...

Excellent! The ID information is also very good.