[ASC-media] Crazy ants invade northern Australia
racheltaylor at optusnet.com.au
racheltaylor at optusnet.com.au
Fri Feb 28 14:00:15 EST 2003
did anyone else get an image of a teenie-weenie mardi-gras with mention of
multi-queened ant colonies?
Is this the new yellow peril?
> Barbara.McKaige at csiro.au <Barbara.McKaige at csiro.au> wrote:
> Joint Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation, Northern Land
> and CSIRO media release
> FEBRUARY 28, 2003
> YELLOW CRAZY ANTS INVADE NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
> Northern Australia has been invaded by one of the world's worst
> species of
> ant, which could affect human health and damage the environment,
> agriculture, and the economy.
> "This little Yellow Crazy ant will destroy our culture, our land,
> life," says Balupalu Yunupingu, Dhimurru senior ranger, north-east
> The Yellow Crazy ant is recognised by the Global Invasive Species
> as one of the world's worst invaders, and represents a major
> and economic threat to northern Australia.
> CSIRO research fellow, Dr Ben Hoffmann, says Yellow Crazy ants form
> multi-queened 'super-colonies' in which ants occur at extremely high
> densities over large areas.
> "The density of foraging worker ants in super-colonies is amazing,
> around 1000 per square metre or 79 million per hectare of bush," he
> Dr Hoffmann says the ants are a threat to human health as their acid
> can send people blind.
> "When the ants are swarming people get acid on their hands and can
> accidentally rub it into their eyes. This is particularly a concern
> infants", he said.
> Dr Hoffmann says the ants are a major environmental threat as they
> displace native animals from infested areas, and seriously disrupt
> ecological processes.
> "They are also a serious pest of agriculture as they cause outbreaks
> sap-sucking insects which harm plants," he says.
> The Yellow Crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) is believed to have
> come from
> India and was accidentally introduced by people to Australia probably
> 60 to 70 years ago.
> Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal Corporation Senior Cultural
> Nanikiya Munungurritj, says the ant has been found around human
> along creeks and in shaded areas on the Gove peninsula in eastern
> "Yellow Crazy ants need help from people to move across country. If
> the ants
> had found their way into densely populated areas instead of this
> remote area
> they would have already spread right across the country", he says.
> "People should be aware of Crazy ants. We need to track their
> locations and
> treat them before they get out of hand".
> Yellow Crazy ants are also a serious pest in homes. The ants nest in
> kinds of materials, from potting mix to packaging, making it very
> easy for
> them to be accidentally transported by people.
> Northern Land Council project officer Mark Ashley says the threat of
> Crazy ants should not be underestimated.
> "These ants have the capacity to spread from Broome in Western
> across to Queensland", he says.
> "We have an opportunity now to do something about them while their
> distribution is limited. It will cost money but if we act quickly it
> will be
> far more cost efficient than if we wait 10 years."
> On Christmas Island, Yellow Crazy ants have completely eliminated the
> Island's famous red land crabs in areas where super-colonies exist.
> estimated 15-20 million red crabs have been killed since crazy ant
> super-colonies were first reported in 1989, a decline of 30 per cent
> of the
> crab population. This had led to major changes in the island's
> ecosystem, and is threatening a range of rare and endangered species
> on the
> Mr Munungurritj says the Dhimurru Land Management Aboriginal
> the Northern Land Council and CSIRO have developed a proposal for a
> "We want to keep the country as it is. The way it was always long
> these Crazy ants came. So we would like to eradicate them as soon as
> possible - on the spot", he says.
> Mr Munungurritj, Mr Ashley and Dr Hoffmann will be presenting a joint
> seminar on Yellow Crazy ants in northern Australia at CSIRO today
> in Darwin.
> Further information:
> Nanikiya Munungurritj - Dhimurru ph. 042 9095 396
> Dr Ben Hoffmann - CSIRO ph. 08 8944 8432 mobile 0418 820 718
> Media assistance:
> Barbara McKaige - CSIRO Darwin ph. 08 8944 8411
> David Moodie - Northern Land Council ph. 08 89205114 mobile 0417
> Barbara McKaige
> Communication Coordinator
> CSIRO Tropical Ecosystems Research Centre
> Darwin NT
> ph: 08 8944 8411
> fax: 08 8944 8444
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> media at asc.asn.au
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