Invasive yellow crazy ants pose brand new threat to Goa’s ecology : Goa News

Invasive yellow crazy ants pose a whole new threat to the ecology of Goa

India time | 3 hours ago | 14-09-2022 | 09:03

PANAJI: Hardy, fast growing and capable of creating supercolonies, yellow crazy ants (YCA) are the latest addition to the list of invasive species ravaging the ecology of Goa. Experts say this is bad news as these ants could have a huge impact on humans, animals, plants and their food. Similar to local weaver ants, these aggressive little ants, which spray formic acid, injure pets and cause skin allergies in humans. Supercolonies of these ants, each with 6,000-10,000 individuals and 50-300 queens, also destroy roots, wiping out crops. Interestingly, yellow crazy ants are already terrorizing several villages in the Dindigul region of Tamil Nadu. Blinding of cattle due to formic acid and migration of some tribals in some pockets of Tamil Nadu due to crop destruction have been reported. “This appears to be the first compelling case of the dangers of the invasive yellow crazy ant,” said Pronoy Baidya, an ecologist at the Arannya Environmental Research Organization. We in Goa are probably heading in the same direction as they are ready to invade disturbed habitats such as urban areas, forest edges or agricultural fields. These ants have spread throughout the state, Pronoy Baidya said. Her paper, related to ecosystem services provided by ants, was recently published in a research journal. For humans, the concentration of formic acid in the venom of yellow crazy ants is not potent enough to cause death. However, according to experts, a high dose of venom resulting from a large number of ant bites could lead to the destruction of cells, especially red blood cells, and also cause a paralyzing effect. “People allergic to ant stings could have an immediate hypersensitivity reaction called anaphylaxis. Life-threatening reactions like difficulty breathing or an extreme drop in blood pressure could lead to a sequela of anaphylaxis called anaphylactic shock,” said microbiologist Dilecta D’Costa. The bite of these ants causes itching and swelling. “Antihistamines such as chlorphenamine may help reduce swelling, itching, or burning sensation.” Besides ants, a few species of exotic fish brought in for fish farming by private farms have escaped and colonized natural water bodies.” African catfish, Mozambique tilapia, sucker catfish and Pacu or Piaractus brachypormus compete with local species,” said a fisheries scientist from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), O ld Goa, GB Sreekanth. Meanwhile, although the lateritic plateaus of Goa and elsewhere are often considered barren and categorized as wasteland, they are home to various micro-habitats. “This diversity is not easily visible. But these sites are the most unique in their ant assemblages,” Baidya said. Many of these sites are locally threatened by biodiversity-insensitive land conversion. “Future development activities must adopt an appropriate management plan that uses the concepts of land saving and sharing to promote heterogeneous landscapes in the lateritic plateaus,” Baidya said.

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