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What is

Yellow crazy ant

    The Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) is a species of ant introduced accidentally to northern Australia and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean becoming a pest in both locations The native range is not known explicitly although authors have speculated its origin as West Africa India or China [1]
    The species is currently known from the following locations
    Australia
    American Samoa
    Christmas Island
    Cocos Islands
    Cook Islands
    Europe and Asia
    French Polynesia
    Guam
    Hong Kong
    India
    Indonesia
    Japan
    Malaysia
    Marshall Islands
    Mauritius
    Myanmar
    Papua New Guinea
    Solomon Islands
    Taiwan
    Thailand
    Tonga
    United States of America

    The crazy ant is among the 100 known destructive invasive species They take advantage of their new environments by nesting in anything from the crowns of crop plants to the hollows of native palm trees Their introduction to a new ecosystem has dramatic consequences Among them is the pressure they place on native ant species
    It is a particular problem on Christmas Island It has adapted its behaviour so that instead of forming colonies with a single queen it now forms supercolonies with several queens which cooperate rather than fight This aggressive insect has devastated the wildlife of the island Using formic acid it will overpower sizeable creatures like reptiles and coconut crabs and has killed 10-20 million Christmas Island red crabs Seedlings that would normally have been devoured by the crabs grow unmolested noticably changing the appearance of the affected forests In addition the ants protect scale insects that are harmful to plant life These ants harvest scale insects that suck sap from native trees and convert it into irresistable honeydew on which the ants feed Thus the scale insect populations explode increasing the cover of honeydew on native trees which in turn get infected with molds and die There are also problems for Christmas Island's notorious red land crabs which have fed on decaying matter in the island's forests before the ants arrived The crabs stand no chance against the formic acid spray of the ants If the crab goes extinct then the ecology of the island would falter as well The ant also threatens the survival of many of Christmas Island's native birds reptiles and mammals The crazy ant has also become a serious agricultural pest So far chemicals and other preventative measures have been used to control them
    It is estimated that the population of Christmas Island Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) will decline by 80% in the next 30 years due to predation of the young by Crazy Ants; however an aerial spraying procedure seems to have had remarkably effective results in controlling the ants
    The name "Crazy Ant" name derives from the ant's foraging technique involving fast movements with many changes in direction which becomes especially frantic when it is disturbed
    The Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) is a minute species of ant and one of the most destructive invasive species known It is also the largest invasive ant growing about 5 millimeters long They are also not very choosy in specific habitats and inhabit agricultural areas forests coastlines grasslands and even cities Its common name comes from its bizarre running behavior on its long legs Its scientific name means "slender-legged unarmored scales" The crazy ant has no specific food source for it commonly eats seeds vegetation decaying matter and even small animals It sprays its victims with formic acid

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