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  • Solenopsis richteri - major worker face (Photo: Joe McGown, Mississippi Entomological Museum)
  • Profile view of Solenopsis richteri, major worker (Photo: Joe McGown, Mississippi Entomological Museum)
  • Solenopsis richteri (Photo: David Oi,  AntWeb, hosted by California Academy of Sciences)
  • Solenopsis richteri (Photo: David Oi,  AntWeb, hosted by California Academy of Sciences)
  • Solenopsis richteri (Photo: David Oi,  AntWeb, hosted by California Academy of Sciences)
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Common name
black imported fire ant (English)
Synonym
Solenopsis saevissima , st. oblongiceps Santschi
Solenopsis pylades , var. tricuspis Forel
Solenopsis pylades , var. richteri Forel
Similar species
Solenopsis invicta
Summary
Solenopsis richteri, commonly known as the black imported fire ant, is native to South America. It builds large mounds that can reach 46cm in height. Solenopsis richteri damages crops, impedes recreational activities and can undermine roads and asphalt. It is also very dangerous to those who experience anaphylaxis from the venom of its bite. Eradication of Solenopsis richteri is not an option. It can be controlled but this is an ongoing process..
Species Description
University of Tennessee (2004) states that, \"S. richteri is darker at the end and has golden patch at the top of the gaster defined by distinct dark outlines. This species has a ten-segmented antenna with a two-segmented club, and a two-segmented waist. O'Keef and Vinson (2002) report that, \"S. richteri has a median clypeal tooth and a striated mesepimeron. Other characters that might help in the identification include: 1) the antennal scape nearly reaches the vertex, 2) the post-petiole is constricted at back half, and 3) the petiolar process is small or absent.\"

Lockley (1996) reports that, \"One of the identifying characteristics of a S. richteri colony is the earthen nest or mound. The mound is a conically-shaped dome of excavated soil that has a hard, rain-resistant crust. The mound averages 0.40m in diameter and 0.25m in height. In heavier soils, a mound can exceed 1m in height and 1.5m in diameter. There are usually no external openings in the mound; tunnels approximately 25-50mm below the surface radiate from the mound allowing foraging workers ready egress and ingress.\"

Please click on AntWeb: Solenopsis richteri 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 comare: head, profile, dorsal, or label.

Notes
The National Park Service (2003) states that, \"The black imported fire ant, S. richteri, is very similar to the red imported fire ant (S. invicta). It is currently limited to a small area of northern Mississippi and Alabama. It may be displaced from established habitats by S. invicta. Scientists have long thought that the black and red fire ants were two distinct species. Recently it has been discovered that hybrids of these ants produce viable offspring, and some scientists now wonder whether they are simply two races of the same species, varying in colour and perhaps behaviour.\"

TIFARMP, (UNDATED) states that, \"Colonies frequently migrate from one site to another. The queen needs only half a dozen workers to start a new colony. They can develop a new mound several hundred feed away from their previous location almost overnight. Flooding causes colonies to leave their mounds and float until they can reach land to establish a new mound. Colonies also can migrate to indoor locations.\"

Lifecycle Stages
TIFARMP (UNDATED) notes that, \"Worker S. richteri are wingless, sterile females. They protect the queen by defending the nest from intruders, by feeding the queen only food that the workers have eaten first, and by moving the queen from danger. They also forage and care for the developing brood. The brood is made up of cream-coloured eggs, larvae, and pupae of all the castes. The winged forms, or reproductives, live in the mound until their mating flight, which usually occurs in the afternoon soon after a rainy period. Mating flights are most common in spring and fall. Males die soon after mating, while the fertilized queen alights to find a suitable nesting site, sheds her wings, and begins digging a chamber in which to start a new colony. Sometimes, several queens can be found within a single nesting site.\"
Uses
The mound-building activities of non-native Solenopsis spp. alter physical and biogeochemical properties of soils, and can lead to increased soil aerationand infiltrability, elevated soil pH, increased phosphorous and potassium levels, lowered surface soil bulk density, change in organic matter, altered soil texture and enhanced fungal abundance. These influences are further enhanced by plant uptake and excretion in the rhizosphere, and cause other flow-on effects within ecosystems. This an area that has not been well studied, and more research is warranted (DeFauw et al. 2008 and references therein).
Habitat Description
TIFARMP (UNDATED) state: \"S. richteri builds mounds in almost any type of soil, but prefers open, sunny areas such as pastures, parks, lawns, meadows and cultivated fields. Mounds can reach 18 inches in height, depending on the type of soil. Often mounds are located in rotting logs and around stumps and trees. Colonies also can occur in or under buildings.\" The National Park Service (2003) states: \"Increasingly, S. richteri have been found nesting in wall voids, around plumbing, and under carpeting in structures. The ants have also been found invading outdoor electrical equipment, apparently attracted to the electrical fields. Infested sites include household electric metres, traffic signal control boxes, and even airport runway lights.\"
Reproduction
TIFARMP (UNDATED) state that, \"A newly mated queen lays about a dozen eggs. When they hatch 7 to 10 days later, the larvae are fed by the queen. Later on, a queen fed by worker ants can lay up to 800 eggs per day. Larvae develop 6 to 10 days and then pupate. Adults emerge in 9 to 15 days. The average colony contains 100,000 to 500,000 workers and up to several hundred winged forms and queens. Queen ants can live 7 years or more, while worker ants generally live about 5 weeks, although they can survive much longer.\"

Principal source: Mississippi State University, 2004. Insects: Fire Ants
TIFARMP, UNDATED. Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project

Compiler: National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) & IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG)
Updates completed with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF)- Biosecurity New Zealand

Review: Darren Ward, Tamaki Campus School of Biological Sciences University of Auckland New Zealand

Publication date: 2009-09-25

Recommended citation: Global Invasive Species Database (2017) Species profile: Solenopsis richteri. Downloaded from http://www.iucngisd.org/gisd/species.php?sc=784 on 17-12-2017.

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 .
The National Park Service (2003) states that, \"S. richteri damage crops such as soybeans, eggplant, corn, okra, strawberries, and potatoes by feeding directly on the plants or by protecting other insects that damage the crops. They chew the bark and growing tips of citrus trees and feed on the fruit. Fire ant mounds interfere with farming and mowing operations and turn recreational fields into disfigured moonscapes. Fire ants have caused sections of roads to collapse by removing soil from under the asphalt.\" Holloway and Smith (UNDATED), \"Fire ants can be a problem in citrus by tending insects that secrete honey dew which in turn provides a medium for sutty mold. These ants can damage tree bark and provide an entry way for disease causing organisms. Because of the ability to sting fire ants are often a nuisance to citrus production workers. Species include the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata, along with the imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri\"

DeShazo et al. (2004) state: \"The clinical signs of massive fire ant stings relate to the biologic activity of the ant venom, which possesses hemolytic, neurotoxic, and cytotoxic activity; inhibits sodium and potassium adenosine triphosphatases; reduces mitochondrial respiration; uncouple phosphorylation; adversely affects neutrophil and platelet function; inhibits nitric oxide synthetase; and perhaps activates coagulation. These properties predispose to a hypercoagulable state and exacerbate any allergic symptoms experienced by patients who are attacked.\" DeShazo et al. (2004) report various incidents of death or serious injury resulting from S. richteri attacks: \"Infants, the elderly, and others who experience anaphylaxis from the bite. Both infants and elderly have been killed because of complications resulting from the attack. A peculiar amount of cases that occur within health care facilities, primarily nursing homes, with subsequent massive sting attacks on patients with impaired consciousness.\"

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 with economic, environmental or social impacts from establishing within or spreading between countries in the Pacific.

\r\nA 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) was prepared as part of 'The invasive ant risk assessment project', for Biosecurity New Zealand by Landcare Research.\r\n
The Invasive ant risk assessment for Solenopsis richteri can be viewed at Solenopsis richteri risk assessment\r\n
Please see Solenopsis richteri information sheet for more information on biology, distribution, pest status and control technologies.

For details on management of this species including preventative, physical, chemical and biological control please read our pdf file on management information.
Solenopsis invicta virus-1 (SINV-1) was detected in S. richteri and S. invicta/richteri hybrid (Valles, 2007).

Countries (or multi-country features) with distribution records for Solenopsis richteri
ALIEN RANGE
NATIVE RANGE
  • argentina
Informations on Solenopsis richteri has been recorded for the following locations. Click on the name for additional informations.
Lorem Ipsum
Location Status Invasiveness Occurrence Source
Details of Solenopsis richteri 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 .
The National Park Service (2003) states that, \"S. richteri damage crops such as soybeans, eggplant, corn, okra, strawberries, and potatoes by feeding directly on the plants or by protecting other insects that damage the crops. They chew the bark and growing tips of citrus trees and feed on the fruit. Fire ant mounds interfere with farming and mowing operations and turn recreational fields into disfigured moonscapes. Fire ants have caused sections of roads to collapse by removing soil from under the asphalt.\" Holloway and Smith (UNDATED), \"Fire ants can be a problem in citrus by tending insects that secrete honey dew which in turn provides a medium for sutty mold. These ants can damage tree bark and provide an entry way for disease causing organisms. Because of the ability to sting fire ants are often a nuisance to citrus production workers. Species include the tropical fire ant, Solenopsis geminata, along with the imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta and S. richteri\"

DeShazo et al. (2004) state: \"The clinical signs of massive fire ant stings relate to the biologic activity of the ant venom, which possesses hemolytic, neurotoxic, and cytotoxic activity; inhibits sodium and potassium adenosine triphosphatases; reduces mitochondrial respiration; uncouple phosphorylation; adversely affects neutrophil and platelet function; inhibits nitric oxide synthetase; and perhaps activates coagulation. These properties predispose to a hypercoagulable state and exacerbate any allergic symptoms experienced by patients who are attacked.\" DeShazo et al. (2004) report various incidents of death or serious injury resulting from S. richteri attacks: \"Infants, the elderly, and others who experience anaphylaxis from the bite. Both infants and elderly have been killed because of complications resulting from the attack. A peculiar amount of cases that occur within health care facilities, primarily nursing homes, with subsequent massive sting attacks on patients with impaired consciousness.\"

Red List assessed species 0:
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 with economic, environmental or social impacts from establishing within or spreading between countries in the Pacific.

\r\nA 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) was prepared as part of 'The invasive ant risk assessment project', for Biosecurity New Zealand by Landcare Research.\r\n
The Invasive ant risk assessment for Solenopsis richteri can be viewed at Solenopsis richteri risk assessment\r\n
Please see Solenopsis richteri information sheet for more information on biology, distribution, pest status and control technologies.

For details on management of this species including preventative, physical, chemical and biological control please read our pdf file on management information.
Solenopsis invicta virus-1 (SINV-1) was detected in S. richteri and S. invicta/richteri hybrid (Valles, 2007).

Management Category
Bibliography
25 references found for Solenopsis richteri

Managment information
AntWeb, 2006. Solenopsis richteri
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 20 April 2006]
The species page is available from: http://antweb.org/getComparison.do?rank=species&genus=solenopsis&name=richteri&project=&project= [Accessed 2 May 2006]
Deshazo R. D., S. F. Kemp, M. D. deShazo, and J. G. Goddard. 2004. Fire Ant Attacks on Patients in Nursing Homes: An Increasing Problem. Am J Med. 2004;116:843-846.
Goddard, J., J. Jarratt, and R. D. Deshazo. 2002. Recommendations for Prevention and Management of Fire Ant Infestation of Health Care Facilities. Southern Medical Journal 95(6): 627-633.
Graham, L. C., S. D. Porter, R. M. Pereira., H. D. Dorough, and A. T. Kelley. 2003. Field releases of the decapitating fly Pseudacteon curvatus (Diptera: Phoridae) for control of Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera Formicidae) in Alabama, Florida, and Tennessee. 334 Florida Entomologist 86 (3) September 2003
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]
Holloway, R. L., and D. Smith. UNDATED. A Texas Citrus Pest Management Strategy
McGlynn, T.P. 1999. The Worldwide Transfer of Ants: Geographical Distribution and Ecological Invasions, Journal of Biogeography 26(3): 535-548.
National Park Service. 2003. Integrated Pest Management: Manuals: Fire ants. United States Department of the Interior.
Summary: Available from: http://www.nature.nps.gov/biology/ipm/manual/fireants.htm [Accessed 04 May 2005]
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.
Palomo, G., P. Martinetto, C. Perez, and O. Iribarne. 2003. Ant predation on intertidal polychaetes in a SW Atlantic estuary. Mar Ecol Prog Ser Vol. 253: 165-173.
Simberloff, D., and L. Gibbons. 2004. Now you see them, now you don t! - population crashes ofestablished introduced species. Biological Invasions 6: 161-172.
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]
TIFARMP (Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project). UNDATED. Ant Facts.
Summary: Available from: http://fireant.tamu.edu/antfacts/ [Accessed 04 May 2005]
UACES (University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service). 2004. Fire Ant Treatment Methods Managing Imported Fire Ants in Urban Areas - MP426. University of Arkansas, Division of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service.
General information
Baird, R., Woolfolk, S. & Watson, C.E. (2007). Survey of Bacterial and Fungal Associates of Black/Hybrid Imported Fire Ants from Mounds in Mississippi. Southeastern Naturalist 6(4): 615-632.
Chen, J., Cantrell, C.L., Duke, S.O. & Allen, M.L. (2008). Repellency of Callicarpenal and Intermedeol Against Workers of Imported Fire Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Journal of Economic Entomology 101(2): 265-271.
Summary:
DeFauw, S. L., Vogt, J.T. & Boykin, D. L. (2008). Imported Fire Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Bioturbationand Its Influences on Soils and Turfgrass in a Sod Production Agroecosystem. Journal of Entomological Science 43(1): 121-127.
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System). 2005. Online Database Solenopsis richteri.
Summary: An online database that provides taxonomic information, common names, synonyms and geographical jurisdiction of a species. In addition links are provided to retrieve biological records and collection information from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Data Portal and bioscience articles from BioOne journals.
Available from: http://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=154241 [Accessed March 2005]
Lockley, T. C. 1996. Imported Fire Ants. Imported Fire Ant Station, USDA/APHIS/PPQ. University of Minnesota.
Summary: Available from: http://ipmworld.umn.edu/chapters/lockley.htm [Accessed 04 May 2005]
Mississippi State University. 2004. Insects: Fire Ants. MSUcares (Coordinated Access to the Research and Extension System).
Summary: Available from: http://msucares.com/insects/fireants/index.html [Accessed 04 May 2005]
Morrison, L. W., S. D. Porter, E. Daniels, and M. D. Korzukhin. 2004. Potential global range expansion of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta. Biological Invasions 6: 183-191, 2004.
O Keefe, S. T., and S. B. Vinson. 2002. Texas Fire Ant Identification: An Illustrated Key: Fire Ant Plan Fact Sheet #013.
University of Tennessee. 2004. Imported Fire Ant Identification: Three Types of Imported Fire Ants. Agricultural Extension Service.
Summary: Available from: http://fireants.utk.edu/Webpages/Idpage.htm [Accessed 04 May 2005]
Valles, S.M., Strong, C.A., Oi, D.H., Porter, S.D., Pereira, R.M., Vander Meer, R.K., Hashimoto, Y., Hooper-Bu, L.M., Sanchez-Arroyo, H., Davis, T., Karpakakunjaram, V., Vail, K.M., Graham, L.C., Briano, J.A., Calcaterra, L.A., Gilbert, L.E., Ward, R., Ward, K., Oliver, J.B., Taniguchi, G. & Thompson, D.C. (2007). Phenology, distribution, and host specificity of Solenopsis invicta virus- 1. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 96: 18�27.
Wild, A.L. (2007). A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Zootaxa 1622: 1�55.
Contact
The following 2 contacts offer information an advice on Solenopsis richteri
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
Ward,
Darren
Organization:
Tamaki Campus School of Biological Sciences University of Auckland
Address:
Private Bag 92019 Auckland New Zealand
Phone:
09 3737599 x86812
Fax:
09 3737042