News of the WeekEcology

When Fire Ants Move In, Others Leave

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Science  14 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5477, pp. 231
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5477.231

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Researchers have uncovered new evidence about the long-range, and potentially long-term, ecological damage being wrought by an invasive species of fire ant. The red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta displaces other ant species and upsets the structures of native communities of ants--disruptions that appear to be permanent, they report in the July issue of Ecology Letters. The drop in biodiversity could represent a significant loss, experts note, because of the critical role ants play in recycling nutrients and other biological material.