Australia eradicates invasive ants from world heritage island
African ants feed off sugar left behind by campers at a retreat cottage in Magaliesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa, 09 December 2017. EPA-EFE/FILE/KIM LUDBROOK
An undated handout pictures made available by the CSIRO on 7 November 2018 shows a big headed African ant (Pheidole Megacephala). EPA-EFE/CSIRO HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Sydney, Australia, Nov 7 (efe-epa).- Big-headed African ants, one of the world's most invasive species, were eradicated from Lord Howe Island, a World Heritage Site located off the east coast of Australia, official sources announced Wednesday.
"Invasive ants pose a huge threat to Australia's diverse plant and animal life, our agriculture and our economy," said Ben Hoffman, an exotic ant specialist from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), who was part of the team responsible for the eradication from Lord Howe Island.
The CSIRO expert added that the Australian government will spend around $362 million (AUD 500 million) in the next ten years to control or eradicate the pest of the big-headed ants (Pheidole Megacephala).
It is believed that the big-headed ants, which are listed as one of the hundred worst pests in the world, known for creating super colonies that outcompete and prey on native animals and have caused the extinction of several species in Hawaii, were introduced to Lord Howe when materials shipped from mainland Australia were unloaded.
The Volcanic Island of Lord Howe is on the list of World Heritage Sites because of its unique diversity of plants and animals, it is still suffering from an invasion of rats that arrived on the island in the late 1800's. An eradication program for the rodents is expected to start in 2019.