Here’s an interesting video for you of some interactions between fire ants (the invasive ant species closest to my heart) and a newly invasive ant species beginning to spread across Texas. Rasberry crazy ants (Nylanderia sp. nr. pubens) were first noticed in the Houston area around 2002. (For people who don’t keep up with the world of ant taxonomy, most of the genus Paratrechina was moved into Nylanderia in 2010.)
Crazy ants take their name from the way in which they run about very quickly while turning frequently. The common name is applied to a number of ant genera. As you can see in the video these ants are fast. I’ve personally witnessed another invasive “crazy ant” (Paratrechina longicornis) fall into my fire ant colonies and become trapped many times. Although they can’t climb out again and they are vastly overnumbered they’ll hang out in little groups by the water tube for days, apparently too fast for the fire ants to catch. Trying to squish them is like playing whack-a-mole. They also got into the sterile buffer and the coffee.
Thanks to Danny McDonald for providing the Rasberry crazy ants and helping to referee their valiant battle. Danny is one of the few researchers working in this system right now.