Global invasive species database

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Common name
Kiiro-kushike-ari (Japanese), European imported fire ant (English, USA), European fire ant (English)
Synonym
Myrmica laevinodis , (Nylander)
Myrmica laevinodis , var. bruesi (Weber)
Myrmica rubra r. champlaini , (Forel)
Myrmica longiscapus , (Curtis)
Myrmica rubra laevinodis , (Nylander)
Myrmica levinodis , (Dalla Torre)
Myrmica rubra st. laevinodis , (Nylander)
Atta rubra , (Linnaeus)
Formica (Myrmecia) rubra , (Linnaeus)
Formica (Myrmica) rubra , (Linnaeus)
Formica rubra , (Linnaeus)
Manica rubra , (Linnaeus)
Similar species
Summary
Myrmica rubra, commonly known as the European fire ant, is an aggressive ant species which has been introduced from its native Eurasia to eastern North America, where it appears able to reach sizeable densities. It has a painful sting, and also impacts on native ants and other invertebrates, and reptiles.
Species Description
Size: monomorphic. Total length of workers about 4–5.5mm. Colour: body colour yellow to yellowish brown and workers in the field are clearly yellowish (Japan) or reddish brown (North America). Surface sculpture: head and mesosoma are heavily sculptured, the gaster is smooth and shining; unraised rugae occur on the posterodorsal portion of the mesonotum. General description of genus: body cuticle thick and with an armoured appearance; usually the cuticle strongly sculptured. Psammophore absent. Clypeus with longitudinal rugulae interrupted by posterior border of clypeus and not continuous with rugulae of rest of head. Antenna 12-segmented; scape often curved or bent at base; funniculus enlarged apically forming an indistinct 3- or 4-segment club. Promesonotal suture absent. Metanotal impression weak to distinct. Propodeum with spines. Petiole with a short anterior peduncle and an anteroventral tooth or process. Tibial spurs on mid- and hind- legs finely pectinate. (Landcare Research, 2006).

Please see AntWeb: Myrmica rubra for more images and assistance with identification. The AntWeb image comparison tool lets you compare images of ants at the subfamily, genus, species or specimen level. You may also specify which types of images you would like to compare: head, profile, dorsal, or label.
There are several native species of Myrmica in New England, and distinguishing them from M. rubra can be difficult (Landcare Research, 2006).

Notes
Sting: M. rubra sometimes nests in lawns and gardens and will readily sting humans, pets and livestock. Schmidt (see Landcare Research, 2006) compared the stings of Pogonomyrmex and M. rubra. M. rubra stings produce mini-versions of the reactions to Pogonomyrmex, which typically hurts for 4–8 hours, produces a deep pain that feels like the “tearing of muscles or tendons”, and comes in waves. The venom also produces localized sweating at the sting site, erection of the hairs around the sting site, and a pain or tenderness in axillary or groin lymph nodes. Pogonomyrmex venom is the most lethal known arthropod venom, with an LD50 in mice of about 190 micrograms/kg. The lethality of M. rubra venom is unknown, but is also likely to be high (Landcare Research, 2006).

A light dose of carbon dioxide can be used as a safe method of anaesthesia of ants in laboratory studies (Wardlaw, 1995). Also please see Weir, 1957.

Lifecycle Stages
Myrmica rubra is \"normally polygynous with some 1000 workers, but may develop large polydomous colonies covering up to 2 m2 and consisting of 100s of queens and over 10 000 workers (Saaristo, 1995). Unrelated queens have been found cohabiting (Pearson, 1983). Densities of M. rubra nests can be as high as 4 per m2, with more than 5200 workers and 39 queens per nest (Drummond and Garnas www57). Artificial nesting substrates set out in Maine were readily used and were repeatedly vacated and recolonised, suggesting colony movement is high, or that M. rubra’s large polydomous colonies are able to relocate nests in response to shifting optimal conditions for brood production on a short temporal scale (Garnas et al. www57). In Poland, mating swarms were present from August until mid-October (Woyciechowski, 1992)\" (from Landcare Research, 2006).
Studies on populations of M. rubra on Mount Desert Island (Maine, USA) have suggested an approach towards supercolonialism ( Bell et al. 2002).
Uses
Butterflies of the highly endangered genus Maculinea are parasites of Myrmica ants. A recent study by Anton et al (2008) indicates that Maculinea nausithous is limited by the density of its host ant, M. rubra. They suggest that habitat management to increase densities of this endangered butterfly should focus on the optimization of habitats that enable high densities of M. rubra.
Habitat Description
In Finland it is frequently found in gardens and agricultural meadows and can be extremely abundant. It is rare inside larger forests (Saaristo, 1995; from Landcare Research, 2006). Similarly, in its introduced range in the US, the ant favours disturbed open grassy areas, forest edges, and residential landscapes. In Japan, this species is rare and nests in the soil of grasslands in lowland areas (Landcare Research 2006).
Nutrition
Myrmica rubra are generalist scavengers and predators. Workers also feed on honeydew of Homoptera and exudates of plants, and tend aphids. Workers forage around the clock from early June to September on Mount Desert Island, Maine. Throughout the autumn months (September to early November) there was a significant sigmoidal relationship between temperature and foraging. Foraging activity increased with temperature from about 6°C to 13–14°C. Above these temperatures, foraging did not appear to increase in response to air temperature (Landcare Research, 2006).
Pathway
Myrmica rubra can be dispersed via the movement of infested potted plants, mulch and fill (Landcare Research, 2006).

Principal source: Landcare Research. 2006. Myrmica rubra Information Sheet, Research, Invasive Ants.

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)

Review:

Publication date: 2009-09-29

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2016) Species profile: Myrmica rubra. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=1014 on 09-12-2016.

General Impacts
For a summary of the general impacts of invasive ants, such as their affect on mutualistic relations, the competitive pressure they impose on native ants and the effect they may have on vulnerable ecosystems please read this document: invasive ants impacts

Myrmica rubra is an aggressive ant species which has a painful sting. It has become a significant pest in many parts of its introduced range in Maine, USA. Nest densities can reach 4/m2, and there are impacts on people, pets, native ants, other invertebrates and reptiles (Landcare Research, 2006; Gammans et al. 2006). M. rubra appears to establish in sizeable colonies in its introduced range, in disturbed and natural areas around residences and commercial buildings. It aggressively defends its territory as well as dominating native species. (USDA-APHIS, 2003).

Management Info
Preventative measures: The Pacific Ant Prevention Programme is a proposal prepared for the Pacific Plant Protection Organisation and Regional Technical Meeting for Plant Protection. This plan aims to prevent the red imported fire ant and other invasive ant species from establishing within or spreading between countries in the Pacific.

Chemical: Myrmica rubra can be controlled by tracking foragers back to the nest and eliminating the colony by direct treatment. Foragers of this sugar-loving ant quickly discover and recruit to vials baited with small pieces of surgical gauze dipped in 30–50% sucrose solution. Preliminary trials using low concentrations of boric acid (1% and less) in sucrose bait show promise for species control, and foragers will readily pick up baited formulations of both Extinguish®, a baited formulation of methoprene, and Amdro®, so strategies for Solenopsis invicta may be effective against this species (see Landcare Research, 2006). Research has shown that the use of pheromones may assist in attracting M. rubra to bait stations ( Gammans et al. 2006).

Stanley, 2004 provides comprehensive information about the range of baits available for ant control and eradication. Groden and Stack, 2003 provide information on managing M. rubra in Maine, as does USEPA, 2003.

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Myrmica rubra
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
  • central europe
  • ireland
  • northern europe
  • poland
  • russian federation
  • ukraine
  • united kingdom
Informations on Myrmica rubra has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Myrmica rubra in information
Status
Invasiveness
Arrival date
Occurrence
Source
Introduction
Species notes for this location
Location note
Management notes for this location
Impact
Mechanism:
Outcome:
Ecosystem services:
Impact information
For a summary of the general impacts of invasive ants, such as their affect on mutualistic relations, the competitive pressure they impose on native ants and the effect they may have on vulnerable ecosystems please read this document: invasive ants impacts

Myrmica rubra is an aggressive ant species which has a painful sting. It has become a significant pest in many parts of its introduced range in Maine, USA. Nest densities can reach 4/m2, and there are impacts on people, pets, native ants, other invertebrates and reptiles (Landcare Research, 2006; Gammans et al. 2006). M. rubra appears to establish in sizeable colonies in its introduced range, in disturbed and natural areas around residences and commercial buildings. It aggressively defends its territory as well as dominating native species. (USDA-APHIS, 2003).

Red List assessed species 0:
Mechanism
[3] Competition
[1] Poisoning/Toxicity
Outcomes
[3] Environmental Ecosystem - Habitat
  • [3] Reduction in native biodiversity
[1] Environmental Species - Population
  • [1] Plant/animal health
[2] Socio-Economic
  • [1] Human health
  • [1] Human nuisance 
Management information
Preventative measures: The Pacific Ant Prevention Programme is a proposal prepared for the Pacific Plant Protection Organisation and Regional Technical Meeting for Plant Protection. This plan aims to prevent the red imported fire ant and other invasive ant species from establishing within or spreading between countries in the Pacific.

Chemical: Myrmica rubra can be controlled by tracking foragers back to the nest and eliminating the colony by direct treatment. Foragers of this sugar-loving ant quickly discover and recruit to vials baited with small pieces of surgical gauze dipped in 30–50% sucrose solution. Preliminary trials using low concentrations of boric acid (1% and less) in sucrose bait show promise for species control, and foragers will readily pick up baited formulations of both Extinguish®, a baited formulation of methoprene, and Amdro®, so strategies for Solenopsis invicta may be effective against this species (see Landcare Research, 2006). Research has shown that the use of pheromones may assist in attracting M. rubra to bait stations ( Gammans et al. 2006).

Stanley, 2004 provides comprehensive information about the range of baits available for ant control and eradication. Groden and Stack, 2003 provide information on managing M. rubra in Maine, as does USEPA, 2003.

Locations
UNITED STATES
Management Category
Prevention
Bibliography
25 references found for Myrmica rubra

Managment information
AntWeb, 2006. Myrmica rubra
Summary: AntWeb illustrates ant diversity by providing information and high quality color images of many of the approximately 10,000 known species of ants. AntWeb currently focusses on the species of the Nearctic and Malagasy biogeographic regions, and the ant genera of the world. Over time, the site is expected to grow to describe every species of ant known. AntWeb provides the following tools: Search tools, Regional Lists, In-depth information, Ant Image comparision tool PDF field guides maps on AntWeb and Google Earth and Ant genera of the world slide show.
AntWeb is available from: http://antweb.org/about.jsp [Accessed 26 September 2006]
The species page is available from: http://antweb.org/description.do?rank=species&genus=myrmica&name=rubra&project=[Accessed 26 September 2006]
Gammans, N.R., Drummond, F., Gorden, E. and Stock, P. 2006. Use of pheromones in bait stations to control the invasive European fire ant, Myrmica rubra.
Summary: This article discusses the use of pheromones in attracting M. rubra to bait stations.
Available from: http://iussi.confex.com/iussi/2006/techprogram/P2215.HTM [Accessed 28 October 2006]
Groden, E. and Drummond, F.A. 2003. Management of the European fire ant in Eastern Maine. US Environmental Protection Agency.
Summary: This paper provides information about management of Myrmica rubra in eastern Maine, USA.
Available from: http://www.epa.gov/oppbppd1/PESP/regional_grants/2003/r1-2003.htm [Accessed 28 September 2006]
Harris, R.; Abbott, K.; Barton, K.; Berry, J.; Don, W.; Gunawardana, D.; Lester, P.; Rees, J.; Stanley, M.; Sutherland, A.; Toft, R. 2005: Invasive ant pest risk assessment project for Biosecurity New Zealand. Series of unpublished Landcare Research contract reports to Biosecurity New Zealand. BAH/35/2004-1.
Summary: The invasive ant risk assessment project, prepared for Biosecurity New Zealand by Landcare Research, synthesises information on the ant species that occur in New Zealand (native and introduced species), and on invasive ants that pose a potential threat to New Zealand.
There is a great deal of information in this risk assessment on invasive ant species that is of global interest, including; biology, distribution, pest status, control technologies.
The assessment project has five sections.1) The Ants of New Zealand: information sheets on all native and introduced ants established in New Zealand 2) Preliminary invasive ant risk assessment: risk scorecard to quantify the threat to New Zealand of 75 ant species. 3) Information sheets on invasive ant threats: information sheets on all ant species scored as medium to high risk (n = 39). 4) Pest risk assessment: A detailed pest risk assessment for the eight species ranked as having the highest potential risk to New Zealand (Anoplolepis gracilipes, Lasius neglectus, Monomorium destructor, Paratrechina longicornis, Solenopsis geminata, Solenopsis richteri, Tapinoma melanocephalum, Wasmannia auropunctata) 5) Ranking of high risk species: ranking of the eight highest risk ant species in terms of the risks of entry, establishment, spread, and detrimental consequences.
NB. The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) is considered to be the worst ant pest in the world. However, Solenopsis invicta was specifically excluded from consideration in this risk assessment as this species has already been subject to detailed consideration by Biosecurity New Zealand
(This invasive ant pest risk assessment was funded by Biosecurity New Zealand and Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. Undertaken by Landcare Research in collaboration with Victoria University of Wellington and Otago Museum)
Available from: http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/biocons/invertebrates/Ants/ant_pest_risk.asp [Accessed 20 May 2007]
Landcare Research. 2006. Myrmica rubra Information Sheet, Research, Invasive Ants.
Summary: This information sheet provides comprehensive information about the biology, impacts and control options for Myrmica rubra.
Available from: http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/biosecurity/stowaways/Ants/invasive_ants/myrrub_info.asp [28 September 2006]
McGlynn, T.P. 1999. The Worldwide Transfer of Ants: Geographical Distribution and Ecological Invasions, Journal of Biogeography 26(3): 535-548.
Pacific Ant Prevention Programme, March 2004. Pacific Invasive Ant Group (PIAG) on behalf of the IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG).
Summary: A proposal prepared for the Pacific Plant Protection Organisation and Regional Technical Meeting For Plant Protection. This plan aims to prevent the red imported fire ant and other invasive ant species with economic, environmental and/or social impacts, entering and establishing in or spreading between (or within) countries of the Pacific Region.
Stanley, M. C. 2004. Review of the efficacy of baits used for ant control and eradication. Landcare Research Contract Report: LC0405/044. Prepared for: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Summary: Available from: http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/biocons/invertebrates/ants/BaitEfficacyReport.pdf [Accessed 10 December 2005]
General information
Agosti, D., and N. F. Johnson. Editors. 2005. Antbase. Hymenoptera Name Server Results for the species Myrmica rubra (Linnaeus): World Wide Web electronic publication. antbase.org, version (05/2005).
Summary: Antbase is a collaborative effort between scientists from around the world, aiming at providing the best possible access to the wealth of information on ants, to fulfill the conservation needs of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects (IUSSI), and the Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Antbase, together with the Hymenoptera On-line Database, is the data provider for ants to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System, ITIS. Antbase is being built and maintained at the American Museum of Natural History (Donat Agosti) and the Ohio State University (Norman F. Johnson).
Antbase is available from: http://www.antbase.org/ this page is available from: http://atbi.biosci.ohio-state.edu:8880/hymenoptera/nomenclator.name_entry?text_entry=Myrmica+rubra [Accessed 26 September 2006]
Anton, C., Musche, M., Hula, V. & Settele, J. (2008). host-ants limit the density of the ant-predatory large blue Maculinea nausithous. Journal of Insect Conservation 12:511�517.
Bell, D.A., Felse, J., Mescher, M. and Holbrook, G. 2002. Potential supercolonialism in North American Myrmica rubra.
Summary: This presentation suggested that there may be an approach towards supercolonialism in populations of M. rubra on Mount Desert Island, Maine, USA.
Available from: http://esa.confex.com/esa/2002/techprogram/paper_6975.htm [Accessed 28 September 2006]
Czechowski, W., Radchenko, A. & Czechowska, W. (2007). Mermithid infestation strikingly alters the morphology of Myrmica rubra (L.) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): Possible taxonomical involvements. Annales Zoologici 51(2): Abstract.
Garnas, J. R., Drummond, F. A. & Groden, E. (2007). Intercolony Aggression Within and Among Local Populations of the Invasive Ant, Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in Coastal Maine. Environmental Entomology 36(1): 105-113.
Groden, E., Drummond, F.A., Garnas, J. & Franceour, A. (2005). Distribution of an Invasive Ant, Myrmica rubra (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in Maine. Journal of Economic Entomology 98(6): 1774-1784.
Holec, M. & Frouz, J. (2005). Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) communities in reclaimed and unreclaimed brown coal mining spoil dumps in the Czech Republic. Pedobiologia 49: 345-357.
Japanese Ant Database Group. (2003). Myrmica rubra.
Summary: Available from http://ant.edb.miyakyo-u.ac.jp/E/Taxo/F40104.html [Accessed 26 June, 2009]
Le Roux, A. M., Le Roux, G. & Thibout, E. (2002). Food experience on the predatory behavior of the ant Myrmica rubra towards a specialist moth, Acrolepiopsis assectella. Journal of Chemical Ecology 28(11): 2307-2314.
Nash, D. (2006). Coevolution of chemical mimicry of Maculinea butterflies and their Myrmica ant hosts: The importance of spatial scale and gene flow. The IUSSI 2006 Congress Symposium 21: Coevolution between social insects and their macroparasites
Servigne, P. & Detrain, C. (2008). Ant-seed interactions: combined effects of ant and plant species on seed removal patterns. Insectes Sociaux 55: 220-230.
USDA-APHIS. 2003. Annual progress report for FY 2003, USDA-APHIS Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey for Maine. Cooperative Agreement: 03-8223-0360-CA.
Summary: This report provides up to date information on the status of M. rubra in Maine, USA.
Available from: http://mainegov-images.informe.org/agriculture/pi/pestsurvey/caps/2003FinalReport.pdf#search=%22myrmica%20rubra%20introduced%22 [Accessed 28 September 2006]
Veps�l�inen, K., Ikonen, H. & Koivula, M. J. (2008). The structure of ant assemblages in an urban area of Helsinki, southern Finland. Annales Zoologici Fennici 45(2): Abstract.
Ward, D.F., Beggs, J.R., Clout, M.N., Harris, R.J. and O Connor, S. 2006. The diversity and origin of exotic ants arriving in New Zealand via human-mediated dispersal. Diversity and Distributions. 12: 601-609.
Summary: This paper looks at the incursions of various ant species in New Zealand.
Wardlaw, J.C. 1995. The effect of carbon dioxide on egg production in Myrmica rubra. Ins. Soc.. 42: 325-328.
Summary: This paper discusses the use of carbon dioxide as an anaesthetic for examining ants in a laboratory situation.
Weir, J.S. 1957. Effect of anaesthetics on workers of the ant Myrmica. Journal of Experimental Biology. 34: 464-468.
Summary: Provides additional information on the use of anaesthetics with M. rubra.
Witek, M., Sliwinska, E. B., Sk�rka, P., Nowicki, P., Wantuch, M., Vrabec, V., Settele, J. & Woyiechowski, M. (2008). Host ant specificity of large blue butterflies Phengaris (Maculinea) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) inhabiting humid grasslands in East-central Europe. European Journal of Entomology 105(5): 871-877.
Contact
The following 3 contacts offer information an advice on Myrmica rubra
Elmes,
Graham W.
Organization:
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Benson Lane, Crowmarsh Gifford, Wallingford, Oxfordshire OX10 888, United Kingdom,
Email:
Address:

Phone:
Fax:
Groden,
Eleanor
http://faculty.umaine-biology.net/index.php?action=1&facno=10
Organization:
Email:
Address:

Phone:
Fax:
O Connor,
Simon
Simon has previously coordinated New Zealand s national invasive ant programme which included responding to incursions and development and implementation of the surveillance programme. He is currently employed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to implement the preliminary stages of the Pacific Ant Prevention Programme. Extensive surveillance through the Pacific islands, project work around specific ant problems and public awareness building has been the main focus of his current role
Organization:
Coordinator, Pacific Ant Prevention Programme Secretariat of the Pacific Community
Address:
C/- MAF PO Box 2526 Wellington New Zealand
Phone:
64 4 8190539
Fax:
64 4 8190736