Globetrotting supertramp ant species

This is a specimen of pheidole indica, an ant species from Asia that has been spreading across the globe under the name pheidole teneriffana. A century-old mystery surrounding the origin of this invasive ant species was recently solved by an internat
PHOTO: ELI SARNAT

This is a specimen of pheidole indica, an ant species from Asia that has been spreading across the globe under the name pheidole teneriffana. A century-old mystery surrounding the origin of this invasive ant species was recently solved by an international team of scientists, who have published their findings in the open-access journal ZooKeys. They have found that what had long been considered two different species - one found across a wide swathe of Asia and the other a tramp species spread by humans across Europe, Africa, the Americas and Australia - are actually one single supertramp species. Tramp ants, many of which are pests, stow away in the cargo of ships and planes, posing rising environmental, food security and public health concerns.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2015, with the headline 'Globetrotting supertramp ant species'. Print Edition | Subscribe