Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Solenopsis geminata
(tropical fire ant)

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Datasheet

Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 10 December 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Solenopsis geminata
  • Preferred Common Name
  • tropical fire ant
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Relative to other invasive fire ant species such as Solenopsis invicta, the tropical fire ant, S. geminata, has a greater world-wide distribution. Where introduced, it has often become one of the dominant pest ant species, affecting fauna and flora (...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); major and minor workers, showing lobed head of major worker.
TitleAdults
CaptionSolenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); major and minor workers, showing lobed head of major worker.
Copyright©Bastiaan M. Drees/Texas A&M University
Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); major and minor workers, showing lobed head of major worker.
AdultsSolenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); major and minor workers, showing lobed head of major worker.©Bastiaan M. Drees/Texas A&M University
Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); queen (largest ant in middle of frame) and worker ants.
TitleQueen and workers
CaptionSolenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); queen (largest ant in middle of frame) and worker ants.
Copyright©Bastiaan M. Drees/Texas A&M University
Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); queen (largest ant in middle of frame) and worker ants.
Queen and workersSolenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); queen (largest ant in middle of frame) and worker ants.©Bastiaan M. Drees/Texas A&M University
Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); feeding on eggs of the rice black bug Scotinophara coarctata.
TitlePredation
CaptionSolenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); feeding on eggs of the rice black bug Scotinophara coarctata.
Copyright©James Litsinger
Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); feeding on eggs of the rice black bug Scotinophara coarctata.
PredationSolenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); feeding on eggs of the rice black bug Scotinophara coarctata.©James Litsinger
Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); feeding on eggs of the golden snail Pomacea.
TitlePredation
CaptionSolenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); feeding on eggs of the golden snail Pomacea.
Copyright©James Litsinger
Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); feeding on eggs of the golden snail Pomacea.
PredationSolenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); feeding on eggs of the golden snail Pomacea.©James Litsinger
Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); ant mounds. Welsaco, Texas, USA.
TitleAnt mounds
CaptionSolenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); ant mounds. Welsaco, Texas, USA.
Copyright©Bastiaan M. Drees/Texas A&M University
Solenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); ant mounds. Welsaco, Texas, USA.
Ant moundsSolenopsis geminata (tropical fire ant); ant mounds. Welsaco, Texas, USA.©Bastiaan M. Drees/Texas A&M University

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius)

Preferred Common Name

  • tropical fire ant

Other Scientific Names

  • Atta geminata
  • Solenopsis geminata rufa Jerd.

International Common Names

  • English: brown ant; fire ant; fire ant, tropical; red ant; stinging ant
  • Spanish: hormiga brava; hormiga brava roja; hormiga caribe
  • French: fourmie

Local Common Names

  • Netherlands: Tabaks-mier

EPPO code

  • SOLEGE (Solenopsis geminata)
  • SOLEGR (Solenopsis geminata rufa)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Relative to other invasive fire ant species such as Solenopsis invicta, the tropical fire ant, S. geminata, has a greater world-wide distribution. Where introduced, it has often become one of the dominant pest ant species, affecting fauna and flora (Hoffmann et al., 1999; Geetha Viswanathan and Ajay Narendra, 2000).

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Hymenoptera
  •                         Family: Formicidae
  •                             Genus: Solenopsis
  •                                 Species: Solenopsis geminata

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Taber (2000) provided the historical background of the taxonomic status of the tropical fire ant, S. geminata. The fire ants comprise a group of 18 to 20 species that are native to the New World and within the genus Solenopsis. This genus contains approximately 200 species including 'thief ants', most of which are incapable of stinging humans, and nest close to other ant nests and rob them of stored food and brood. Trager (1991) recently revised this group of ants. Several colour forms have been recognized (Hölldobler and Wilson, 1990). Barrion et al. (1979) refer to the subspecies Solenopsis geminata rufa.

Description

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Hung et al. (1977) provided a key for the identification of fire ants in Texas, USA. S. geminata worker ants have two nodes between the thorax and abdomen, distinct compound eyes, ten segments on the antennae with two segments forming a club, no spines on the propodeum and are over 2 mm long. Major worker ants have a deep groove on the vertex of the head, mandibles without teeth and are entirely black, with a short antennal scape reaching half-way to the vertex (Vinson et al., 2003).

Distribution

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This species is native to the New World, including the Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico. It has spread world-wide, in some cases to environments where the conditions are unfavourable for this species to survive outdoors such as Winnipeg, Canada (Ayre, 1977).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 15 Dec 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

Côte d'IvoirePresent
GabonPresent
LiberiaPresentIntroduced
MadagascarPresent
MauritiusPresent
RéunionPresentIntroduced

Asia

BangladeshPresent
BruneiPresent
ChinaPresentIntroduced
-GuangdongPresentIntroduced
-HebeiPresent
Hong KongPresentIntroducedInvasive
IndiaPresentIntroduced
-BiharPresent
-GoaPresent
-KarnatakaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-KeralaPresent
-MaharashtraPresentIntroducedInvasive
-OdishaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Tamil NaduPresent
-Uttar PradeshPresentIntroduced
-West BengalPresentIntroducedInvasive
IndonesiaPresentIntroduced
-JavaPresent
-Lesser Sunda IslandsPresent
-SulawesiPresent
-SumatraPresentIntroducedInvasive
JapanPresentIntroduced
MacauPresent
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresent
-SabahPresent
-SarawakPresent
MyanmarPresentIntroduced
PakistanPresentIntroducedInvasive
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedInvasive
Sri LankaPresentIntroduced
TaiwanPresentIntroducedInvasive
United Arab EmiratesPresentIntroducedInvasive
VietnamPresentIntroduced

North America

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroduced
BahamasPresentNative
BarbadosPresentNative
BelizePresentNative
British Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced
Canada
-ManitobaAbsent, Intercepted only
Costa RicaPresentNative
CubaPresentNative
DominicaPresentNative
Dominican RepublicPresentNative
GrenadaPresentNative
GuadeloupePresentNative
GuatemalaPresentNative
HaitiPresentNative
HondurasPresentNative
JamaicaPresentNative
MartiniquePresentNative
MexicoPresentNative
Netherlands AntillesPresentNative
NicaraguaPresentNative
PanamaPresentNative
Puerto RicoPresentNative
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentNative
Saint LuciaPresentNative
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentNative
Trinidad and TobagoPresentNative
Turks and Caicos IslandsPresentIntroduced
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentIntroduced
United StatesPresentNative
-AlabamaPresentNative
-ArizonaPresent
-CaliforniaPresentNative
-FloridaPresentNative
-GeorgiaPresent
-HawaiiPresentNative
-LouisianaPresent
-MississippiPresentNative
-New MexicoPresent
-North CarolinaPresent
-South CarolinaPresentNative
-TexasPresentNative

Oceania

American SamoaPresentIntroduced
AustraliaPresentIntroduced
-Northern TerritoryPresentIntroducedInvasive
-QueenslandPresent
Christmas IslandPresentIntroducedInvasive
Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced
FijiPresentIntroduced
French PolynesiaPresentIntroducedInvasive
GuamPresentIntroducedInvasive
KiribatiPresentIntroduced
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroduced
New CaledoniaPresentIntroduced
Northern Mariana IslandsPresentIntroduced
Papua New GuineaPresentIntroduced
SamoaPresentOriginal citation: Wetterer Vargo (2003)
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroduced
TongaPresentIntroducedReported invasive in 1967

South America

BoliviaPresentNative
BrazilPresentNative
-BahiaPresentNative
-CearaPresent
-Espirito SantoPresent
-Minas GeraisPresentNative
-ParaPresent
-PernambucoPresent
-PiauiPresent
-Sao PauloPresent
ChilePresent
ColombiaPresentNative
EcuadorPresentIntroduced
-Galapagos IslandsPresent
French GuianaPresentNative
GuyanaPresentNative
PeruPresentNative
VenezuelaPresentNative

History of Introduction and Spread

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Taber (2000) provides a world-wide distribution map for S. geminata. This species has been widely spread through commerce to new locations in North and South America, Africa, Australia, Asia and the islands of Oceania, where it can become a dominant species (George and Narendran, 1987; Porter et al., 1997). This is a predominantly tropical species.

In parts of southern USA, the historical distribution of S. geminata has been reduced in areas invaded by high population levels of imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri) (Vinson et al., 2003). Thus, historical records may no longer express the current distribution.

Risk of Introduction

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The phytosanitary risk is high for areas that do not already have this species and are located in warmer climates.

Habitat

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S. geminata generally nests in the soil of suitable environments.

Hosts/Species Affected

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S. geminata is omnivorous, but among the fire ants is known more as a seed-feeding species. The morphologically distinctive major worker ants are specialized in collecting and feeding on the seeds of many plant species, including weeds (Wilson 1978; Carroll and Risch, 1984; Tennant and Porter 1991; Sangal and Neena Bakshi, 1994). Although this ant is reported to occur in a number of crops (avocado, banana, cabbage, citrus, cocoa, corn, cotton, coffee, cucumber, eggplant, mango, okra, papaya, pastureland, pineapple, sorghum, soybeans, strawberries, sugarcane, tobacco, tomato, rice and vegetables) and in cultivated land, it is seldom reported to be a direct pest of these crops.

Seed loss to crops such as cabbage, corn, sorghum and tomato can be significant. However, this species also girdles plants, imbibes sap, and bites branches, shoots, buds, flowers and fruits (Hill, 1975). The ants in nests that are built at the base of citrus tree trunks gnaw through the bark (Essig, 1926; Wolcott, 1933). Indirectly, S. geminata can negatively affect plant health by tending sucking insects (Homoptera), or in one case, prevent pollination (Carroll and Risch, 1983). However, because these ants sting, they can affect field workers that are sensitive to arthropod venom, and can affect equipment such as drip irrigation systems (Ota and Chang, 1981) and electrical equipment (Prins, 1985). In addition, they occur in urban areas (such as in turf and occasionally enter buildings), wildlife areas, forests and other sites suitable for the species.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Abelmoschus esculentus (okra)MalvaceaeHabitat/association
    Ananas comosus (pineapple)BromeliaceaeHabitat/association
      Brassica oleracea var. capitata (cabbage)BrassicaceaeMain
        Capsella bursa-pastoris (shepherd's purse)BrassicaceaeMain
          Carica papaya (pawpaw)CaricaceaeHabitat/association
            Cenchrus ciliaris (Buffel grass)PoaceaeMain
              CitrusRutaceaeMain
                Coffea (coffee)RubiaceaeMain
                  Coffea arabica (arabica coffee)RubiaceaeHabitat/association
                    Cordia myxa (sebesten)BoraginaceaeHabitat/association
                      Croton bonplandianusEuphorbiaceaeHabitat/association
                        Cucumis sativus (cucumber)CucurbitaceaeHabitat/association
                          Cynodon dactylon (Bermuda grass)PoaceaeMain
                            Eleusine coracana (finger millet)PoaceaeHabitat/association
                              Festuca arundinacea (tall fescue)PoaceaeMain
                                Fragaria ananassa (strawberry)RosaceaeMain
                                  Glycine max (soyabean)FabaceaeMain
                                    Gossypium hirsutum (Bourbon cotton)MalvaceaeHabitat/association
                                      Grewia asiatica (phalsa)TiliaceaeHabitat/association
                                        Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)ConvolvulaceaeHabitat/association
                                          Leptochloa dubia (green strangletop (USA))Main
                                            MalachraMalvaceaeMain
                                              Mangifera indica (mango)AnacardiaceaeHabitat/association
                                                Musa (banana)MusaceaeHabitat/association
                                                  Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)SolanaceaeHabitat/association
                                                    Oryza sativa (rice)PoaceaeHabitat/association
                                                      Paspalum conjugatum (buffalo grass)PoaceaeMain
                                                        Paspalum distichum (knotgrass)PoaceaeMain
                                                          Passiflora (passionflower)PassifloraceaeHabitat/association
                                                            pasturesMain
                                                              Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu grass)PoaceaeMain
                                                                Persea americana (avocado)LauraceaeHabitat/association
                                                                  Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane)PoaceaeHabitat/association
                                                                    Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeMain
                                                                      Solanum melongena (aubergine)SolanaceaeHabitat/association
                                                                        Solanum spp.SolanaceaeMain
                                                                          Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)PoaceaeMain
                                                                            Theobroma cacao (cocoa)MalvaceaeHabitat/association
                                                                              Trichosanthes dioica (pointed gourd)CucurbitaceaeHabitat/association
                                                                                Zea mays (maize)PoaceaeHabitat/association

                                                                                  Growth Stages

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                                                                                  Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Pre-emergence, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

                                                                                  List of Symptoms/Signs

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                                                                                  SignLife StagesType
                                                                                  Fruit / external feeding
                                                                                  Growing point / external feeding
                                                                                  Seeds / external feeding
                                                                                  Stems / external feeding
                                                                                  Stems / gummosis or resinosis
                                                                                  Stems / internal feeding
                                                                                  Vegetative organs / external feeding
                                                                                  Vegetative organs / internal feeding
                                                                                  Whole plant / cut at stem base
                                                                                  Whole plant / external feeding
                                                                                  Whole plant / plant dead; dieback
                                                                                  Whole plant / wilt

                                                                                  Biology and Ecology

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                                                                                  The research of S. geminata is fairly extensive, particularly from locations where it is an introduced exotic species. In these locations, S. geminata often becomes one of the more dominant ant species, causing many problems similar to those caused by Solenopsis invicta (Porter et al., 1997).
                                                                                  The biology of S. geminata is similar to other closely related fire ant species. Wilson (1978) described caste behaviour. The head capsules of the major worker ants are distinctly larger and lobed relative to those of minor workers because of their specialized seed foraging and milling behaviour.

                                                                                  The colonies of S. geminata can either be monogyne, each containing a single queen ant, or polygyne, containing many reproductively-active queen ants (Adams et al., 1976; MacKay et al., 1990; Williams and Whelan, 1991).

                                                                                  Genetics

                                                                                  Ross et al. (1987) has evaluated the genetics of S. geminata and other fire ant species. This species has been known to hybridize with other closely related fire ant species; Morrison (2000) discusses the hybrid Solenopsis geminata x Solenopsis xyloni.

                                                                                  Physiology and Phenology

                                                                                  The pheromones known for S. geminata are discussed by Blum (1982) and Jaffe et al. (1985), and considerable work has been carried out to characterize the ant's venom (e.g. Battenfield et al., 1982).

                                                                                  Reproductive Biology

                                                                                  The winged reproductive male and female S. geminata leave the nests on mating or nuptial flights, late in the day or at dusk on days of or following rains during warmer periods of the year (Travis, 1941; Hung et al., 1977; Trager, 1991). Two forms of queen ants are recognized and have different mating strategies (McInnes and Tschinkel, 1995). Following mating, the female reproductive ants or queens drop their wings and dig a burrow to start a new colony. The queens begin laying eggs and can lay up to 1123 eggs per day (Travis, 1941). Development from egg to adult can take from 3 to 4 weeks and up to 2 months (Wheeler and Wheeler, 1955; Vargo, 1993). Egg hatch occurs in 14 to 17 days, larval development in 24 days to 6 weeks and the pupal stages last up to 19 days (Veeresh, 1990a). The worker ants include minor workers (2.6 mm larvae), major workers (5.2 mm larvae) and intermediate sized workers. Colony maturity occurs in 1 to 2 years (Wilson and Taylor, 1967). The colonies have been reported to contain up to 100,000 ants (Way et al., 1998), but other estimates are lower, generally ranging from 10,000 to 12,000 (Veeresh, 1990a, b).

                                                                                  S. geminata, like other ants, are social insects. This species generally builds nests in the soil in open, sunny areas, although they can also occur in the shade and inside structures. The nests are formed as craters or mounds in which the ants seek optimum temperatures for reproduction. At certain times of the year, the nests have multiple entrance holes (16 to 20 per nest) in mounds up to 2 ft wide and 12 inches tall (Van Pelt, 1958), although most mounds are not as tall or even crater-like. The subterranean foraging tunnels (up to 3 inches deep) extend from the nest in all directions and may be 100 ft long, with vertical tunnels extending up to 6 ft deep in the ground (Wheeler, 1910). The density of colonies in areas varies greatly and can range from 10 mounds per acre to 80 mounds per acre in native habitats (McInnes and Tschinkel, 1995), but in some areas the polygyne forms of the ant can reach up to 1000 mounds per acre (MacKay et al., 1990). In India, mound densities have been reported as 1500 mounds per acre (Veeresh, 1990a). The colonies frequently migrate to new locations (Lakshmikantha et al., 1996), migrating over 100 ft from the original nest locations.

                                                                                  Environmental Requirements

                                                                                  S. geminata often colonizes disturbed habitats (Risch, 1981; Perfecto, 1991). It is capable of colonizing most types of soils and media. It occurs in shaded orchards and woods (Essig, 1926; Wilson and Brown, 1958), as well as open areas. Habitat types vary greatly (Wheeler, 1910; Travis, 1941; Creighton, 1950; Van Pelt, 1958; Whitcomb et al., 1972; Buren et al., 1974; Moody et al., 1981; Moody and Franke, 1982; Carroll and Risch, 1984; Tschinkel, 1988; Verhaagh, 1991; Muniappan and Marutani, 1992; McInnes and Tshinkel, 1995; Way et al., 1998). This species prefers low to mid-elevations below 1500 ft (Forel, 1993; Perfecto, 1994), but has been reported to occur at 3000 ft (Smith, 1936). It prefers mild winter temperatures and high humidity (Snelling, 1963). Cokendolpher and Francke (1985) described the temperature preferences of S. geminata. The influence of microhabitats on distribution is discussed by Torres (1984). Foraging occurs in the temperature range of 77 to 90°F, with extreme temperature limits that prevent foraging below 36°F and above 122°F (George and Narendran, 1987).

                                                                                  Associations

                                                                                  Although S. geminata is reported to be associated with a wide variety of crop and animal commodities in the field, the impact of the ants is often not reported to be negative, nor is injury always caused to the agricultural commodity. In many cases, the foraging ants prey on pest arthropods such as ticks, caterpillars and beetle life stages. They are associated with sucking insects such as aphids, leafhoppers and other Homoptera, which they 'tend', to feed on the sugary honeydew secretions (Tennant and Porter, 1991).

                                                                                  Natural enemies

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                                                                                  Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
                                                                                  Burenella dimorpha Pathogen Pupae
                                                                                  Calotes nemoricola Predator
                                                                                  Mattesia geminata Pathogen Larvae
                                                                                  Pseudacteon bifidus Parasite Adults
                                                                                  Pseudacteon crawfordi Parasite Adults
                                                                                  Pseudacteon litoralis Parasite
                                                                                  Pseudacteon wasmanni Parasite
                                                                                  Sitana ponticeriana Predator
                                                                                  Solenopsis invicta Predator Adults/Larvae/Pupae
                                                                                  Solenopsis richteri Predator Adults/Larvae/Pupae

                                                                                  Means of Movement and Dispersal

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                                                                                  S. geminata can be moved by the human transport of colonies or mated queen ants in soil or other suitable nesting materials, or naturally by mating flights or the movement of colonies floating in floodwater (Litsinger et al., 1986), similar to the ways in which Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri have been spread to new areas. The cracks and crevices of stems and bark could harbour mated queen ants of small colonies, particularly associated with soil or potting media. The ants or 'worked' soil would be visible to the naked eye. The movement by humans has led to infestations on many remote islands such as the Galapagos Islands (Williams and Whelan, 1991) and Guam (Schreiner and Nafus, 1988).

                                                                                  Agricultural Practices

                                                                                  S. geminata often colonizes disturbed habitats (Risch, 1981; Perfecto, 1991). The removal of rain forests or the cultivation of fields causes rapid colonization by this species, making it a dominant ant in many agricultural systems.

                                                                                  Pathogen Transmission

                                                                                  S. geminata and other ant species may also be associated with the transmission of some plant diseases through the injuries made by the ant (Suarez-Sotolongo, 1990).
                                                                                   

                                                                                  Pathway Vectors

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                                                                                  VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
                                                                                  Soil, sand and gravel Yes

                                                                                  Plant Trade

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                                                                                  Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
                                                                                  Growing medium accompanying plants adults; eggs; larvae; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
                                                                                  Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
                                                                                  Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx
                                                                                  Fruits (inc. pods)
                                                                                  Leaves
                                                                                  Roots
                                                                                  Seedlings/Micropropagated plants
                                                                                  True seeds (inc. grain)
                                                                                  Wood

                                                                                  Wood Packaging

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                                                                                  Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
                                                                                  Loose wood packing material
                                                                                  Non-wood
                                                                                  Processed or treated wood
                                                                                  Solid wood packing material with bark
                                                                                  Solid wood packing material without bark

                                                                                  Impact Summary

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                                                                                  CategoryImpact
                                                                                  Animal/plant collections None
                                                                                  Animal/plant products None
                                                                                  Biodiversity (generally) None
                                                                                  Crop production None
                                                                                  Environment (generally) None
                                                                                  Fisheries / aquaculture None
                                                                                  Forestry production None
                                                                                  Human health Negative
                                                                                  Livestock production Positive
                                                                                  Native fauna Negative
                                                                                  Native flora Negative
                                                                                  Rare/protected species None
                                                                                  Tourism None
                                                                                  Trade/international relations Negative
                                                                                  Transport/travel None

                                                                                  Impact

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                                                                                  S. geminata is considered to be an economically important pest ant (Lakshmikantha et al., 2001) even in Florida, USA, this species' native habitat (Wojcik et al., 1976). Stand loss in agricultural crops can be significant where this species is abundant. Perfecto (1994) reported a loss of 90% of tomato seeds. The loss of corn and sorghum seeds and seedlings has also been reported (Carroll and Risch, 1984; Trabanino et al., 1989). However, the overall estimates of economic losses are unavailable. Economic benefits can also be provided by this species (Risch and Carroll, 1982); it has been documented to be a major predator of many other arthropod pests such as engorged ticks, Boophilus microplus (Barre et al., 1991) and fruit flies (Eskafi and Kolbe, 1990).

                                                                                  Environmental Impact

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                                                                                  The impact of S. geminata is both positive and negative. Nesting activities improve soil conditions (Carroll and Risch, 1983) and foraging can reduce weed seeds (Risch and Carroll, 1986) and pest arthropod populations.

                                                                                  Impact: Biodiversity

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                                                                                  S. geminata has often become one of the dominant pest ant species where it has been introduced, affecting the fauna and flora (Hoffmann et al., 1999; Geetha Viswanathan and Ajay Narendra, 2000). This species affects the seed of many plant species, moving and consuming them as discussed by Horvitz (1981), Nesom (1981) and others. In native areas (New World), subsequently invaded by imported fire ant species (Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri in the south-eastern USA), S. geminata populations (and its distribution) have been reduced (Vinson et al., 2003).

                                                                                  Threatened Species

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                                                                                  Threatened SpeciesConservation StatusWhere ThreatenedMechanismReferencesNotes
                                                                                  Drosophila digressaUSA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPredation
                                                                                  Hylaeus anthracinus (anthricinan yellow-faced bee)USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service (2014a)
                                                                                  Hylaeus assimulans (assimulans yellow-faced bee)USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service (2014b)
                                                                                  Hylaeus facilis (easy yellow-faced bee)USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service (2014c)
                                                                                  Hylaeus hilaris (hilaris yellow-faced bee)USA ESA species proposed for listingHawaiiPredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service (2014d)
                                                                                  Hylaeus kuakea (Hawaiian yellow-faced bee)USA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service (2014e)
                                                                                  Hylaeus longicepsUSA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service (2014f)
                                                                                  Hylaeus manaUSA ESA listing as endangered speciesHawaiiPredationUS Fish and Wildlife Service (2014g)

                                                                                  Social Impact

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                                                                                  Because of the ability for S. geminata to bite and sting, this species is considered a pest of humans and animals. However, relative to the more aggressive imported fire ant species (Solenopsis invicta and Solenopsis richteri), it is less medically important.

                                                                                  Risk and Impact Factors

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                                                                                  Impact mechanisms
                                                                                  • Predation

                                                                                  Uses

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                                                                                  The presence of S. geminata can be beneficial. However, other than use in conservation biological control programmes, the ant has not been used for augmentative biological control.

                                                                                  Diagnosis

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                                                                                  Suspect-ants should be collected in a vial of alcohol using forceps, cotton swabs or other suitable collecting methods that prevent the collector from being stung. Five to twenty-five specimens, particularly of the larger, major worker ants, should be collected and submitted to an identification specialist for species verification.

                                                                                  Detection and Inspection

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                                                                                  The methods used for detecting and inspecting other fire ant species, such as Solenopsis invicta, can be used for S. geminata. Both species build nests in the soil and create mounds with honey-comb-shaped galleries in which ants reside. These can be observed on the soil surface, particularly after rainy periods. Any sites where the soil appears to be 'worked' and formed into small granulate particles should be inspected for the presence of ants. This is particularly important during the inspection of articles of trade stacked on pallets or containing suitable media for ant colony nesting. However, baiting methods are more suitable for detecting ants in transported articles, or in locations or seasons when the ants do not construct visible mounds. Bait stations to monitor S. geminata, using attractive substances such as tuna fish, have been evaluated (Nestel and Dickschen, 1990; Islam et al., 2000).

                                                                                  The Pacific Invasive Ant Key (PIAKey) manual Pacific Invasive Ants Taxonomy Workshop Manual can both be used in identifying invasive ants in the Pacific region.

                                                                                  Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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                                                                                  S. geminata is similar to the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta (see data sheet on Solenopsis invicta).

                                                                                  Prevention and Control

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                                                                                  Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

                                                                                  The efforts to develop controls for this pest in southern USA were reported as early as the 1930s (Travis, 1938, 1939), suggesting that this species of fire ant was considered pestiferous even before the arrival of the imported species. However, relative to the control programmes developed for the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, fewer management programmes have been specifically developed for S. geminata. Certainly, because these are both fire ants (closely related and similar in biology) the control programmes developed for S. invicta should also be useful for control of S. geminata. In areas of the world where S. geminata has been imported, their populations may be greater and control justified (George and Narendran, 1987; Porter et al., 1997). In India, management options are presented by Veeresh (1990b).

                                                                                  Phytosanitary Measures

                                                                                  The inspection of articles of trade that can potentially harbour this species (e.g. nursery stock, sod, hay, field-working equipment or articles of trade associated with soil or other suitable nesting media) should be routine and can prevent the introduction and spread of this species.

                                                                                  Cultural Control and Sanitary Methods

                                                                                  Ota and Chang (1979, 1981) and Heinz and Carlson (1984) developed drip irrigation in Hawaiian sugarcane fields and assessed it as resistant to damage by foraging S. geminata.

                                                                                  Host-Plant Resistance

                                                                                  None has been reported.

                                                                                  Biological Control

                                                                                  Although numerous organisms have been identified as natural enemies of S. geminata, few of these have been used as a method of control.

                                                                                  Chemical Control

                                                                                  Neem extract (azadiractin) has recently been assessed as a treatment for S. geminata (Geetha Viswanathan et al., 2002).

                                                                                  Field Monitoring/Economic Threshold Levels

                                                                                  No economic threshold levels have been developed for S. geminata.

                                                                                  IPM Programmes

                                                                                  As a species of 'fire ant', pest management programmes developed for S. invicta can be applied to this species where it occurs and causes problems that justify suppression.

                                                                                  References

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                                                                                  Zeng Ling, Lu YongYue, He XiaoFang, Zhang WeiQiu, Liang GuangWen, 2005. Identification of red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, to invade mainland China and infestation in Wuchuan, Guangdong. Chinese Bulletin of Entomology. 42 (2), 144-148.

                                                                                  Links to Websites

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                                                                                  GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
                                                                                  Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

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