Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 15–25 | Cite as

Impact of the invasive crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes on Bird Island, Seychelles

  • J. Gerlach


The crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) invaded Bird island, Seychelles, in the 1980s. In 1997, its range expanded and population densities increased. The impacts of this change were studied in 2001 using a combination of arthropod collecting methods. The ant population excluded larger invertebrates (principally the large ant Odontomachus simillimus and the crabs, principally Ocypode spp.). Cockroaches, however, remained abundant in ant-infested areas and tree-nesting birds (Lesser Noddy Anous tenuirostris) appear to be able to breed successfully in the presence of the crazy ant. The ants are only abundant in areas of deep shade which provide cool nesting areas, yet enabling them to forage in the open when ground temperatures fall. The expansion of the ants was correlated with the regeneration of woodland on the island. Recommendations are made for the management of the woodland which may reduce the impacts of the crazy ant.

Anoplolepis gracilipes Ant Formicidae Invasion Management Seychelles 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Benoit P.L.G. 1978. Contributions à l'étude de la faune de terrestre des îles granitiques de l'archipel des Séychelles (Mission P.L.G. Benoit-J.-J. Van Mol 1972). Introduction. Rev. Zool. Afr. 92: 390-404.Google Scholar
  2. Bond W. and Slingsby P. 1984. Collapse of an ant-plant mutualism: the Argentine ant (Iridomyrmex humilis) and myrmecochorous Protaceae. Ecology 65: 1031-1037.Google Scholar
  3. Brandão C.R.F. and Pavia R.V.S. 1994. The Galapagos ant fauna and the attributes of colonizing ant species. In: Williams D.F. (ed.), Exotic Ants: Biology, Impact and Control of Introduced Species, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.Google Scholar
  4. Clark D.B., Guyasamín C., Pazimiño O., Donoso C. and Pàex de Villacís Y. 1982. The tramp ant Wasmannia auropunctata: autecology and effects on ant diversity and distribution on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. Biotropica 14: 196-207.Google Scholar
  5. Dammerman K.W. 1929. The Agricultural Zoology of the Malay Archipelago. J.H. De Bussy Ltd., Amsterdam, 473 pp.Google Scholar
  6. De Kock A.E. and Giliomee J.H. 1989. A survey of the Argentine ant, Iridomyrmex humilis (Mayr) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in South African fynbos. J. Ent. Soc. S. Afr. 52: 157-164.Google Scholar
  7. Dorow W.H.O. 1996. Review and bibliography of the ants of the Seychelles (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). J. Afr. Zool. 110: 73-96.Google Scholar
  8. Feare C.J. 1979. Ecology of Bird Island, Seychelles. Atoll Res. Bull. 226: 1-26.Google Scholar
  9. Feare C.J. 1999. Ants take over from rats on Bird Island, Seychelles. Bird Consev. Int. 9: 95-96.Google Scholar
  10. Feare C.J. and Gill E. 1997. Life cycle of the tick Amblyomma loculosum in a sooty tern Stena fuscata colony in the Seychelles. J. Zool. 241: 643-68.Google Scholar
  11. Fryer J.C.F. 1909. Bird and Dennis Islands, Seychelles. Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. (Zool.) 14: 15-18.Google Scholar
  12. Gerlach J. 2003. Biodiversity of the granitic Seychelles islands. Phelsuma 11A: 1-48.Google Scholar
  13. Greenslade P.J.M. 1971. Interspecific competition and frequency changes among ants in Solomon Islands coconut plantations. J. Appl. Ecol. 82: 323-353.Google Scholar
  14. Haines I.H. and Haines J.B. 1978a. Colony structure, seasonality and food requirements of the crazy Anoplolepis longipes (Jerdon), in the Seychelles. Ecol. Entomol. 3: 109-118.Google Scholar
  15. Haines I.H. and Haines J.B. 1978b. Pest status of the crazy ant, Anoplolepis longipes (Jerdon) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in the Seychelles. Bull. Entomol. Res. 68: 627-638.Google Scholar
  16. Haskins C.P. and Haskins E.F. 1965. Pheidole megacephala and Iridomyrmex humilis in Bermuda-equilibrium or slow replacement? Ecology 46: 736-740.Google Scholar
  17. Hilton-Taylor C. (Compiler) 2000. 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  18. Hill M.J. 2002. Assessing conservation value of islands in the central Seychelles. Atoll Res. Bull. 495: 1-254.Google Scholar
  19. Holway D.A. 1995. Distribution of theArgentine ant (Linepithema humile) in northern California. Cons. Biol. 9: 1634-1637.Google Scholar
  20. Human K. and Gordon D. 1996. Exploitative and interference competition between the Argentine ant and native ant species. Oecologia 105: 405-412.Google Scholar
  21. Lewis T., Cherrett J.M., Haines I., Haines J.B. and Mathias P.L. 1976. The crazy ant (Anoplolepis longipes) (Jerd.) (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) in Seychelles, and its chemical control. Bull. Entomol. Res. 66: 97-111.Google Scholar
  22. Lowe S., Browne M. and Boudjelas S. 2001. 100 of the world's worst alien species. Aliens 12: 1-14.Google Scholar
  23. McGlynn T.P. 1999. The worldwide transfer of ants: geographic distribution and ecological invasions. J. Biogeogr. 26: 535-548.Google Scholar
  24. Moller H. 1996. Lessons for invasion theory from social insects. Biol. Conserv. 78: 125-142.Google Scholar
  25. O'Dowd D.J., Green P.T. and Lake P.S.A. 1999. Status, impact and recommendation for research and management of exotic invasive ants in Christmas Island National Park. Report to Environment Australia.Google Scholar
  26. Porter S.D. and Savignano D.A. 1990. Invasion of polygyne fire ants decimates native ants and disrupts arthropod community. Ecology 71: 2095-2106.Google Scholar
  27. Robert S. 1998a. News from Bird. Birdwatch 26: 8-9.Google Scholar
  28. Robert S. 1998b. News from Bird. Birdwatch 27: 9-11.Google Scholar
  29. Robert S. 1998c. News from Bird. Birdwatch 28: 11-12.Google Scholar
  30. Robert S. 1999a. News from Bird. Birdwatch 31: 19-21.Google Scholar
  31. Robert S. 1999b. News from Bird. Birdwatch 32: 13-15.Google Scholar
  32. Stoddart D.R. and Fosberg F.R. 1981. Bird and Denis Islands, Seychelles. Atoll Res. Bull. 252: 1-50.Google Scholar
  33. Tsutsui N.D. and Suarez A.V. 2003. The colony structure and population biology of invasive ants. Conserv. Biol. 17: 48-58.Google Scholar
  34. Vinson S.B. 1991. Effect of the red imported fire ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on a small plant-decomposing arthropod community. Environ. Entomol. 20: 98-103.Google Scholar
  35. Williams D.F. 1994. Exotic Ants: Biology, Impact, and Control of Introduced Species. Westview Press, Boulder, CO.Google Scholar
  36. Wilson E.O. and Taylor R.W. 1967. An estimate of the potential evolutionary increase in species density in the Polynesian ant fauna. Evolution 21: 1-10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Gerlach
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity Museum of Zoology CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations