Ant Super Colony Could Endanger San Diegos Local Ecology
Ants play a vital role in nature. But the non-native, aggressive Argentine ant species is threatening the balance of California's ecosystem. We talk with UCSD biologist David Holway about the impact o
Tom Fudge: Humans don't tend to have a good relationship with ants. We think of them as the creatures that crash our picnics and make unsightly mounds in our gardens. At the worst they can be large, aggressive and pack a stinging bite. The ants that most of us have in our back yards are not large. But they are quite aggressive. That's why they have generally taken over the local ecology.
The ants I'm referring are similar to most of the people around here, in that they're not native to San Diego. In the case of the ants, they come from Argentina. They do very well here, due to urban irrigation. In fact they wouldn't survive if San Diego were still a coastal desert. But today they are so successful that they're formed what biologists call a "super colony" across much of our state. Being successful in the wild, of course, means killing off the competition. So that raises the question of whether this invasive species has been good or bad news for our environment.