Putative native source of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta in the USA

  title={Putative native source of the invasive fire ant Solenopsis invicta in the USA},
  author={Eric J. Caldera and Kenneth G. Ross and Christopher J. Deheer and DeWayne Shoemaker},
  journal={Biological Invasions},
The ecological and evolutionary dynamics of newly introduced invasive species can best be understood by identifying the source population(s) from which they originated, as many species vary behaviorally, morphologically, and genetically across their native landscapes. We attempt to identify the source(s) of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in the southern USA utilizing data from three classes of genetic markers (allozymes, microsatellites, and mitochondrial DNA sequences) and… 

Estimation of the number of founders of an invasive pest insect population: the fire ant Solenopsis invicta in the USA

  • K. RossD. Shoemaker
  • Environmental Science, Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2008
The rapid spread and massive population build-up of introduced S. invicta occurred despite the loss of substantial genetic variation associated with the relatively small invasive propagule size, a pattern especially surprising in light of the substantial genetic load imposed by the Loss of variation at the sex-determination locus.

Genetic diversity and invasion history of the European subterranean termite Reticulitermes urbis (Blattodea, Termitoidae, Rhinotermitidae)

Results presented here support a history of multiple introductions in Italy and France, in a scenario consistent with continuous exchanges between native and invasive areas, as expected along human trades routes.

Loss of microbial (pathogen) infections associated with recent invasions of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta

The results support the general prediction that invasive species lose many of their natural enemies during invasion and the conspicuous absence of some of these microbes in recently established populations may result from strong selection against founders due to fitness costs associated with harboring detrimental infections.

Global Invasion History of the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta

An assessment of genetic variation at a diverse set of molecular markers in 2144 fire ant colonies from 75 geographic sites worldwide revealed that at least nine separate introductions of S. invicta have occurred into newly invaded areas and that the main southern U.S. population is probably the source of all but one of these introductions.

Invasion history of Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Fujian, China based on mitochondrial DNA and its implications in development of a control strategy

Mitochondrial data reveals that the invasion history of S. invicta in Fujian Province is complex, including multiple invasions probably from other provinces within China.

The Importance of Using Multiple Approaches for Identifying Emerging Invasive Species: The Case of the Rasberry Crazy Ant in the United States

This work identifies this highly invasive pest species as Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) using morphometric data measured from 14 characters, molecular sequence data consisting of 4,669 aligned nucleotide sites from six independent loci and comparison with type specimens, and shows it has a much wider distribution than previously thought.

Heterogeneity within the native range: population genetic analyses of sympatric invasive and noninvasive clades of the freshwater invading copepod Eurytemora affinis

Populations from both clades showed genetic signatures of demographic population expansions that preceded the timing of the last glacial maximum, supporting the St Lawrence as a secondary contact zone between the two clades.

Fire Ants (Solenopsis spp.) and Their Natural Enemies in Southern South America

It is concluded that the objectives of the ARS program in South America are being achieved and that the pioneering studies have served to encourage further investigations in the United States and other countries and advanced the implementation of biological control programs to decrease imported fire ant densities and damage.

Worldwide invasion by the little fire ant: routes of introduction and eco-evolutionary pathways

The evolutionary genetics of introduced populations of the invasive ant Wasmannia auropunctata at a worldwide scale are studied, and it is suggested that invasive clonal populations may have evolved within human modified habitats in the native range, and spread further from there.

Tracing the origin of US brown marmorated stink bugs, Halyomorpha halys

This work sequenced portions of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit II gene, 12S ribosomal RNA gene and control region in populations from the US, China, South Korea and Japan and traced the origin of US H. halys to the Beijing area in China.



Species delimitation in native South American fire ants

The discovery of genetically distinct populations within both S. invicta and S. richteri suggests the presence of previously unrecognized (cryptic) species, implying that the group is actively radiating species and that morphological divergence generally does not keep pace with the development of reproductive isolation and neutral genetic divergence in this process.


  • K. RossJ. Trager
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Evolution; international journal of organic evolution
  • 1990
Genetic incompatibilities generally may be insufficient to create effective postzygotic barriers to interspecific gene flow in this group of ants, given that hybrids between these species in the United States suffer little apparent loss of fitness.

Population Genetics of the Invasive Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the United States

Bayesian analyses showed that study populations most distant from the claimed site of entry, Mobile, AL, have diverged most from the hypothetical founder population, consistent with an invasion scenario in which the ants spread outward from Mobile through repeated subfounder events.

Tracking the invasive history of the green alga Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides

It is postulate that there have been at least two separate introductions of C. fragile ssp.


A major genetic break between S. invicta mtDNA haplotypes that coincides with the Mesopotamia wetlands region of South America, resulting in two higher level nested clade groupings is revealed and contrasting patterns of genetic differentiation within these two major groups are identified.

Locating the sources of an invasive pest, grape phylloxera, using a mitochondrial DNA gene genealogy

  • D. Downie
  • Environmental Science
    Molecular ecology
  • 2002
Most grape phylloxera in viticulture, including all European, have originated in the northeastern USA where the grape species Vitis riparia dominates, and it is likely that subsequent spread from California into Australia, New Zealand and Peru has occurred.

Molecular ecology of zebra mussel invasions

The invasion history and patterns of genetic diversity among endemic and invading populations of zebra mussels using DNA sequences from the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene were concordant with the general trend of destructive freshwater invaders in the Great Lakes arising from the Ponto‐Caspian Sea basin.

Biogeographic effects of red fire ant invasion

The results suggest that the effects of S. invicta on native ant communities are pervasive: not only does the presence of the red imported fire ant reduce species density at local scales, it alters the co-occurrence patterns of surviving species at a biogeographic scale.


The authors' data suggest that, with prolonged contact and interaction, differential fitness of various hybrid genotypes due to intrinsic and extrinsic selective factors is important in structuring the hybrid zone.

Invasion of Polygyne Fire Ants Decimates Native Ants and Disrupts Arthropod Community

The ecological impacts of a polygyne fire ant invasion on ants and other surface—active arthropods at a field station in central Texas indicate that polygyn fire ants pose a substantial threat to the biodiversity of native arthropod communities.