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Behavioral interactions of the invasive Argentine ant with native ant species

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The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, has invaded many areas of the world, displacing native ants. Its behavior may contribute to its competitive success. Staged and natural encounters were observed at food resources in the field, between Argentine ants and eight ant species native to northern California. There was no relation between the frequency of aggression by any ant species and the outcome of encounters, though Argentine ants were more likely than ants of native species to behave aggressively. When an ant of one species initiated an encounter of any kind with an ant of another species, the ant that did not initiate was likely to retreat. This was true of all species studied. Most encounters between ants were initiated by Argentine ants. Thus the native species tended to retreat more frequently than Argentine ants. Interactions between Argentine ants and native species at food resources, causing ants of native species to retreat, may help Argentine ants to displace native species from invaded areas.

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Received 9 February 1998; revised 18 June 1998; accepted 8 July 1998.

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Human, K., Gordon, D. Behavioral interactions of the invasive Argentine ant with native ant species. Insectes soc. 46, 159–163 (1999).

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