Remember the German World of Ants store that traffics in dangerous invasive pest species and illegally collected ants? Now they’re offering yet another risky animal, the little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata:

A screen capture from the World of Ants store, used here under the fair use provision of U.S. copyright law

Wasmannia auropunctata is perhaps the most dangerous pest ant in the Pacific region, where it wipes clean native arthropod faunas and is a big factor in the decline of island vertebrate species like the endangered Galapagos tortoise. Governments are spending millions trying to contain it. It’s an insidious little creature.

The Pacific Invasive Ants group summarizes the problem:

Wasmannia auropunctata is native to South America, but is rapidly spreading across many tropical regions, including the Pacific Islands. It is well documented as causing devastating damage to ecological and agricultural systems, and also poses significant human health risks. Wasmannia auropunctata is considered to be one of the 100 worst invasive species in the world by the IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG). See their web page for a more complete review of the biology, impacts and management.

If a specimen collected from an uninfected region is identified as W. auropunctata, it is recommended that the sample be sent to a taxonomic specialist for confirmation. If confirmed, it is recommended that an emergency eradication or management plan be initiated as quickly as possible.

Can we send an emergency eradication program to the World of Ants headquarters?