Want to see the world’s species, but lack the wherewithal to travel to the earth’s farthest corners? You could do pretty well just visiting Florida. The state’s warm climate and constant human commerce make for an easy home-away-from-home for a staggering number of introduced species. Pythons from Asia, trees from Australia, birds from Europe, frogs from Cuba, bees from Africa, retired hominids from Wisconsin, these are just a few of the many species that have turned Florida into into a sampler of trampy biota.
Now they’ve got another arrival, a carpenter ant from the Neotropics:
An established population of a Neotropical carpenter ant, Camponotus novogranadensis Mayr, is reported from Estero, Lee County, Florida. This species is similar in general appearance to C. planatus Roger, differing in color, pilosity, and clypeal shape. Camponotus novogranadensis is known from disturbed sites in Mexico, Central and South America; it has not previously been reported established outside its presumed native range. It is not known to cause economic or ecological problems.
Having seen this ant in South America, it’s not my impression that C. novogranadensis will become much of a pest. Still, in a novel environment, all bets are off.
As an etymological aside, this ant was described from northern South America by the pioneering Austrian myrmecologist Gustav Mayr, and at the time the territory went by New Granada. Hence, novogranadensis. Or is this an entomological aside? Hmmm…
source: Deyrup, M., Belmont, R. A. 2013. First Record of a Florida Population of the Neotropical Carpenter Ant Camponotus novogranadensis (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Florida Entomologist 96(1):283-285. 2013 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1653/024.096.0148