A groundbreaking discovery in Ethiopia trembled the world of natural science. Experts say it could be the starting point of a dramatic change in the planet. A new dominant species of ants have started building a supercolony, which researchers say, might take over the world!
Imagine, a massive population of ants scattered in every continent and corner of the whole planet. It could be destructive, and surely, gross. This is how the group of scientists who discovered the ant species, Lepisiota canescens,
see the world's state years from now.
Lepisiota canescens (c) wikimedia.org
According to these experts, it's a significant discovery since a supercolony of ants is extremely rare. Furthermore, there were reports claiming locations in Africa and Australia had shut down due to ant species invasion.
The biodiversity survey was conducted in ancient churches in Ethiopia, where the number of invasive Lepisiota canescens
is continously exploding. What's worse is that this ant species is gradually spreading to neighboring areas in Africa, even in roads and urban structures.
As a matter of fact, the largest colonies of L. canescens
recorded reached up to 38 km (24 miles). Researchers say it's the most substantial number documented ever in history.
D. Magdalena Sorger of North Carolina State University, leading author of the study claimed this ant species has dominant features that could bring potential harm to humanity, “The species we found in Ethiopia may have a high potential of becoming a globally invasive species. Invasive species often travel with humans, so as tourism and global commerce to this region of Ethiopia continues to increase, so will the likelihood that the ants could hitch a ride, possibly in plant material or even in the luggage of tourists. All it takes is one pregnant queen. That’s how fire ants started!”
Researchers of the study said it's crucial to pursue the studies further to know vital information about this species, such as, its nature of habitat and biology to prepare for preventive measures if ever L. canescens
turn globally invasive.
Does this mean the saying is true? That ants were sent by the devil to destroy humanity. Don't want to hate the innocent ants, though.
is published in the journal Insectes Sociaux
titled, “Outnumbered: A new dominant ant species with genetically diverse supercolonies in Ethiopia (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Formicinae: Lepisiota).”