The Nylanderia Fulva problem

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Nylanderiafulva
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:19 am
Location: In an ant nest

The Nylanderia Fulva problem

Post: # 66910Post Nylanderiafulva
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:18 am

Hello everyone,

I am not sure whether this is the correct place to post this, as this is my third post on this website. I am an ant keeper that lives in Miami, one of the worst places for invasive ants and invasive species in general. South Florida is a new home for species such as the cane toad, brown anole, burmese python, and, of course, the infamous RIFA. Especially in my area, there are everywhere. Luckily a lot of the native species here are taking it very well and fighting back with solenopsis-like ferocity against RIFA. Camponotus Floridanus, infamous for their pugnaciousness, is proving a very difficult opponent for RIFA and other invasive ants such as Paratrechina longicornis or Pheidole Megacephala. But, lo and behold, we have a new contender. Yet another South American monstrosity has come to wreck our ecosystem again. This, surprisingly, is the rather harmless and unassuming Nylanderia Fulva.

I am aware that N. fulva has already caused some problems in Texas by nesting in electrical cables. The species has made a successful foothold there, but due to the dry climate there, nothing like the enormous explosion of N. fulva we're seeing here. 3 years ago I barely ever saw them. Now they're every bit as common as RIFA. However, they are much less studied. Because of their timid nature toward people, most are not even aware of their existence. Because they don't hurt humans, they are not considered to be a problem. But they are. They really are.

I like to think of them as formicine versions of RIFA, with a few key differences (seriously, they have the same coloration and are almost exactly the same size, as are their nests).

1: They are timid. Step on a RIFA nest and you will remember. Step on a fulva nest and you may not even notice. The nests are remarkably deep, and they can withdraw under the footstep of a human. Unlike RIFA nests, the bulk of a fulva nest is underground, with only a few small anthills. For RIFA it would not be feasible to withdraw to the underground chamber, for most of the brood are contained above ground. They have to sting to protect their nests.

2: They don't sting (they are formicines). You may not even notice if a stray fulva worker crawls on you. In contrast, a kid will break down crying after being stung by a RIFA supermajor. No one considers them annoying or dangerous, which is how they could slip under the radar for so long.

3: They don't go in houses. It's very common to find harmless species such as T. melanocephalum or P. longicornis in homes, nested in a crack in the wall and feeding off food scraps at night. Though they occasionally nest in electrical cables, I have never found any accounts of N. fulva in homes.

4: They can clone queens. Like Paratrechina Longicornis, they keep the gene pools of the males and females separate, so in-nest mating can take place. I had one queen in my N. fulva colony. Now I have 8.

They real kicker, though, is that they are completely immune to RIFA venom.. Yes, you heard me right, RIFA venom has no effect on them. The almighty venom of Solenopsis invicta, a few doses of which is capable of killing almost any insect, and has enabled RIFA to become such a pest, has finally been vanquished. Basically, what N. fulva does is it collects venom from the RIFA, via a droplet of venom (the ant usually lets the RIFA sting it, but not penetrate the exoskeleton). Even being in contact with the venom would kill most ants, via breakdown of the cuticle. Not for N. fulva, because it then coats itself in formic acid and returns to the fight. From then on, the venom, even a direct sting, has no effect. This, as you can imagine, is a huge advantage. RIFA is crumbling under the advances of N. fulva. Thousands of RIFA nests are being raided every day, and N. fulva is gorging itself on the fruits of these raids. With this carnivorous diet will come increased aggression, and RIFA may be wiped out from Florida, just as it wiped out the L. humile that came before it. This sounds crazy, but it's happening right now. The N. fulva have abandoned my neighborhood after wiping out all Solenopsis colonies in the span of a year (P. megacephala is now the dominant species in my area). I wonder what will happen when the aggressive, carnivorous strains of N. fulva start drawing attention. The far-flung but certain future extermination of RIFA from Florida may be for better or for worse, but it will be a major ecological shift that Floridians will have to pay attention to eventually. I will certainly like it when there are no more RIFA in my shoes. But will it be better to have N. fulva instead? I, for one, am looking forward to how it plays out.

JustABitAntsy
Posts: 118
Joined: Fri Sep 27, 2019 4:10 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: The Nylanderia Fulva problem

Post: # 66914Post JustABitAntsy
Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:48 pm

Nylanderiafulva wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:18 am
Hello everyone,

I am not sure whether this is the correct place to post this, as this is my third post on this website. I am an ant keeper that lives in Miami, one of the worst places for invasive ants and invasive species in general. South Florida is a new home for species such as the cane toad, brown anole, burmese python, and, of course, the infamous RIFA. Especially in my area, there are everywhere. Luckily a lot of the native species here are taking it very well and fighting back with solenopsis-like ferocity against RIFA. Camponotus Floridanus, infamous for their pugnaciousness, is proving a very difficult opponent for RIFA and other invasive ants such as Paratrechina longicornis or Pheidole Megacephala. But, lo and behold, we have a new contender. Yet another South American monstrosity has come to wreck our ecosystem again. This, surprisingly, is the rather harmless and unassuming Nylanderia Fulva.

I am aware that N. fulva has already caused some problems in Texas by nesting in electrical cables. The species has made a successful foothold there, but due to the dry climate there, nothing like the enormous explosion of N. fulva we're seeing here. 3 years ago I barely ever saw them. Now they're every bit as common as RIFA. However, they are much less studied. Because of their timid nature toward people, most are not even aware of their existence. Because they don't hurt humans, they are not considered to be a problem. But they are. They really are.

I like to think of them as formicine versions of RIFA, with a few key differences (seriously, they have the same coloration and are almost exactly the same size, as are their nests).

1: They are timid. Step on a RIFA nest and you will remember. Step on a fulva nest and you may not even notice. The nests are remarkably deep, and they can withdraw under the footstep of a human. Unlike RIFA nests, the bulk of a fulva nest is underground, with only a few small anthills. For RIFA it would not be feasible to withdraw to the underground chamber, for most of the brood are contained above ground. They have to sting to protect their nests.

2: They don't sting (they are formicines). You may not even notice if a stray fulva worker crawls on you. In contrast, a kid will break down crying after being stung by a RIFA supermajor. No one considers them annoying or dangerous, which is how they could slip under the radar for so long.

3: They don't go in houses. It's very common to find harmless species such as T. melanocephalum or P. longicornis in homes, nested in a crack in the wall and feeding off food scraps at night. Though they occasionally nest in electrical cables, I have never found any accounts of N. fulva in homes.

4: They can clone queens. Like Paratrechina Longicornis, they keep the gene pools of the males and females separate, so in-nest mating can take place. I had one queen in my N. fulva colony. Now I have 8.

They real kicker, though, is that they are completely immune to RIFA venom.. Yes, you heard me right, RIFA venom has no effect on them. The almighty venom of Solenopsis invicta, a few doses of which is capable of killing almost any insect, and has enabled RIFA to become such a pest, has finally been vanquished. Basically, what N. fulva does is it collects venom from the RIFA, via a droplet of venom (the ant usually lets the RIFA sting it, but not penetrate the exoskeleton). Even being in contact with the venom would kill most ants, via breakdown of the cuticle. Not for N. fulva, because it then coats itself in formic acid and returns to the fight. From then on, the venom, even a direct sting, has no effect. This, as you can imagine, is a huge advantage. RIFA is crumbling under the advances of N. fulva. Thousands of RIFA nests are being raided every day, and N. fulva is gorging itself on the fruits of these raids. With this carnivorous diet will come increased aggression, and RIFA may be wiped out from Florida, just as it wiped out the L. humile that came before it. This sounds crazy, but it's happening right now. The N. fulva have abandoned my neighborhood after wiping out all Solenopsis colonies in the span of a year (P. megacephala is now the dominant species in my area). I wonder what will happen when the aggressive, carnivorous strains of N. fulva start drawing attention. The far-flung but certain future extermination of RIFA from Florida may be for better or for worse, but it will be a major ecological shift that Floridians will have to pay attention to eventually. I will certainly like it when there are no more RIFA in my shoes. But will it be better to have N. fulva instead? I, for one, am looking forward to how it plays out.
this is quite a intruiging subject
New antkeeper in Virginia currently doesn’t have a colony plan to start next Spring :lol:
x2 Camponatus Americanus queens/need further identification
Join the Forelius Clan https://forum.AntsCanada.com/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=15975

Nylanderiafulva
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:19 am
Location: In an ant nest

Re: The Nylanderia Fulva problem

Post: # 67275Post Nylanderiafulva
Sat Feb 01, 2020 10:24 am

After some further study I seem to have found a match for N. fulva. Dorymyrmex bureli is capable of killing about 5 per worker. N. fulva is not predisposed to full-scale raids as D. bureli is. The bureli immediately raided the colony as soon as they got the upper hand and stole brood. I didn't let them kill any queens (this is experimental, contained, controlled ant warfare between two captive colonies). This may be due to the very predatory nature of D. bureli, some of the most predatory of any ant here in Florida. I plan to make a separate thread about them at a later date. Quite intriguing species.

AusAnts
Posts: 121
Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:09 am
Location: Darwin,Australia

Re: The Nylanderia Fulva problem

Post: # 67278Post AusAnts
Sat Feb 01, 2020 5:06 pm

this is very interesting. if i get a few colonies ima do African big headed ant which is a big pest verse some native species.
2 x iridomyrmex sp Queen:15+ workers
2 x iridomyrmex pallidus: 40+ workers
1 x pheidole megacephala:2 queen 300 workers.
1 x opisthopsis Queen: 14 workers

Nylanderiafulva
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2020 7:19 am
Location: In an ant nest

Re: The Nylanderia Fulva problem

Post: # 67290Post Nylanderiafulva
Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:58 pm

Yeah, P. megacephala is definitely a problem. Biggest invasive here behind RIFA and of course now N. fulva.

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