The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Genetic Tests by Department of Agriculture Show Fire Ants in Asia Came from the United States
Worker brood and adults of the invasive fire ant species Solenopsis invicta. Since the 1930s fire ants have spread across much of the southern US, much to the discomfort to millions of Americans. Now it turns out the stinging invaders from South America are using US as a staging ground to invade China, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. AP Photo/Kenneth G. Ross, Science.

By: Randolph E. Schmid, AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP).- Even as the United States battles the spread of fire ants within its borders, this country is serving as the jumping-off point for the pest to invade other nations.

The aggressive, stinging ants arrived from South America and got a foothold in the United States in the 1930s, gradually spreading across the South. Now, researchers say, the United States has become the springboard in the last 20 years for the ants to invade such distant locations as China, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.

Genetic tests on fire ants in the newly invaded countries found they came from the United States, rather than South America, an international team of researchers reports in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

The genetic profile of all these ants is closer to fire ants in the U.S., explained Marina Ascunce of the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.

"I thought that at least one of the populations in the newly invaded areas would have come from South America, but all of the genetic data suggest the most likely source in virtually every case was the southern U.S.," she said in a telephone interview.

That discovery may help prevent further spread of the pests.

"By knowing where they are coming from, biological controls can be more focused," Ascunce said. "We can also improve screening or monitoring in source areas or on key transportation routes."

Larry Gilbert, director of the Brackenridge Field Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, said: "Although those of us who research fire ants are not surprised at the finding, this is the first hard evidence of the sources of worldwide fire ant spread.

"Various exotic invasive pests have been and are being transported to the U.S. by commerce, so it's ironic that one of our pests has used the southern U.S. as staging area, and then as a port of exit for worldwide destinations. This is a sad and disturbing result, but one that needs to be addressed, not only in the U.S. but in more recently infected countries," said Gilbert, who was not part of the research team.

He said the study results emphasize the need to find the most common ways ants hitchhike across deserts and oceans and to develop better ways to intercept the pests.

Ascunce noted that monitoring in South America has blocked shipments of from that region to Asia when fire ants were discovered.

Lead study researcher DeWayne Shoemaker, a U.S. Department of Agriculture scientist affiliated with the University of Florida, said the research team sequenced the complete genome of the red imported fire ant earlier this year. He said the team collected ants from 2,144 colonies at 75 geographic sites and used multiple genetic tests to determine the ants' origin.

Scientists think the red imported fire ant first entered the U.S. in the 1930s through the Port of Mobile in Alabama on cargo ships, possibly in soil used as ballast. They are easily transported, Ascunce noted.

Now, their economic impact on the United States alone is estimated at $6 billion annually, including agricultural damage, efforts to control the pests and medical costs, the researchers said.

The study was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Taiwan Council of Agriculture and National Science Council of Taiwan.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

Today's News

February 27, 2011

Marc Chagall in Paris During the Early 20th Century at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

People Flock to See Lost Letter from Martha Washington at History Museum in Concordia

SFMOMA Showcases Exhibition: Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change

Archive of WW II Codebreaker Alan Turing Preserved by National Heritage Memorial Fund

Artist Joel Shapiro Creates an Installation of New Works for the Museum Ludwig

Neighbors Bid to Save 'Oliver Twist' Workhouse that Inspired Charles Dickens

United States Government Returns Stolen Trove of Historic Archive Documents to Russia

A New iPhone App, Which Recognizes Art, Set to Transform the Art Fair Experience

Exhibition of the Work of Thornton Dial Premieres at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Cincinnati Art Museum Celebrates The Amazing American Circus Poster in Exhibition

Hundreds of Egyptian College Students Rally at Iconic Pyramids for Return of Tourists

Genetic Tests by Department of Agriculture Show Fire Ants in Asia Came from the United States

Abstract Sculptor Roy Gussow,Who Liived and Worked in Long Island City, Dies at 92

Smithsonian and MIT Partner to Turn Kids into Scientific Investigators

Artist Sues Kevin Costner to Force Sculpture Sale

Barnum Museum Repair Project to Cost Up to $17 Million

National Portrait Gallery to Present Portrait of Pitcher Pedro Martinez

Candid Cameras Give a Chance to See Wildlife as a Scientist Does

Old Coca Cola Sign Causes Flap in San Francisco

The Role of Dreams in Creativity, Prophecy and Consciousness to be Explored in a Series of Dialogues at the Rubin Museum

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- New Rembrandt found after being bought at London auction

2.- Exhibition at Fotohof focuses on groups in society who are at risk of marginalisation

3.- John Brennan collection of Rock n Roll memorabilia offered at RR Auction

4.- A Bob Dylan guitar fetches $495,000 at auction

5.- Exhibition in San Francisco focuses on the latter half of René Magritte's career

6.- 'Mad' king Ludwig II of Bavaria lost gift to composer Richard Wagner gets rare show

7.- New Royal Academy of Arts opens in celebration of its 250th anniversary

8.- Researchers uncover Anne Frank's 'dirty jokes'in her diary

9.- New York art sales near $3 billion in two weeks as uber-rich hunt trophies

10.- Berlin's Ethnological Museum returns grave-plundered artefacts to Alaska

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful