The Rasberry Crazy Ant is an invasive ant that was first noticed infesting areas around Houston, Texas ten years ago, but its species identity has remained undetermined until now. In a paper published Sep. 19 in the open access journal PLOS ONE, a research team led by John LaPolla from Towson University in Maryland identifies the species as Nylanderia fulva. Identifying the species should help control this emerging pest, the authors write.
They also conclude that the species, whose common name comes from exterminator Tom Rasberry who first noticed the ants, is distributed more widely than previously thought and has likely invaded all Gulf Coast states.
"This study demonstrates the invaluable role that taxonomy, an often underappreciated discipline, plays in our understanding of emerging pests. Now that we know just what species the Rasberry Crazy Ant really is, we can better understand its biology to improve control of this invasive species", says LaPolla.
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Gotzek D, Brady SG, Kallal RJ, LaPolla JS (2012) The Importance of Using Multiple Approaches for Identifying Emerging Invasive Species: The Case of the Rasberry Crazy Ant in the United States. PLoS ONE 7(9): e45314. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0045314