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Fire ants

Yi-Xiang Qi, Tian Zeng, Lei Wang, Yong-Yue Lu
The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, is a dangerous invasive pest in the United States, China and other countries. Efficient division of labor is one of the main reasons for the success of this social insect. Biogenic amines are important regulators of worker division of labor in this eusocial insect, but the related molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. In this study, we identified 10 candidate biogenic amine synthetic enzyme genes and 17 candidate biogenic amine receptor genes in the genome of S...
March 8, 2018: General and Comparative Endocrinology
Eduardo G P Fox, Xu Meng, Lei Wang, Li Chen, YongYue Lu
A straightforward method for extracting aculeate arthropod venoms by centrifugation is described, based on adapting a glass insert containing metal mesh or glass wool in a centrifuge tube. Venom apparatuses are centrifuged for 30 s intervals at ≈2000-6000 g, materials being dislodged between cycles. Venom from fire ants, honeybees, and a social wasp were extracted within minutes. The method is suited for small-scale bioassays and allows for faithful descriptions of unmodified toxin cocktails.
March 3, 2018: Toxicon: Official Journal of the International Society on Toxinology
Steven M Valles, Sanford D Porter, Luis A Calcaterra
Metagenomics and next generation sequencing were employed to discover new virus natural enemies of the fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren in its native range (i.e., Formosa, Argentina) with the ultimate goal of testing and releasing new viral pathogens into U.S. S. invicta populations to provide natural, sustainable control of this ant. RNA was purified from worker ants from 182 S. invicta colonies, which was pooled into 4 groups according to location. A library was created from each group and sequenced using Illumina Miseq technology...
2018: PloS One
Xinyue Wang, Tianbang Li, Makiko Kashio, Yijuan Xu, Makoto Tominaga, Tatsuhiko Kadowaki
Solenopsis invicta , the red imported fire ant, represents one of the most devastating invasive species. To understand their sensory physiology, we identified and characterized their Hymenoptera-specific (Hs) TRPA channel, SiHsTRPA. Consistent with the sensory functions of SiHsTRPA, it is activated by heat, an electrophile, and an insect repellent. Nevertheless, SiHsTRPA does not respond to most of the honey bee ortholog (AmHsTRPA)-activating compounds. The jewel wasp ortholog (NvHsTRPA) is activated by these compounds even though it outgroups both AmHsTRPA and SiHsTRPA...
January 2018: ENeuro
Jukka Törrönen, Christoffer Tigerstedt
The article applies actor network theory (ANT) to autobiographical data on alcohol dependence to explore what ANT can offer to the analysis of 'addiction stories'. By defining 'addiction' as a relational achievement, as the effect of elements acting together as a configuration of human and non-human actors, the article demonstrates how the moving and changing attachments of addiction can be dynamically analyzed with concepts of 'assemblage', 'mediator', 'tendency', 'translation', 'trajectory', 'immutable mobile', 'fluid' and 'bush fire'...
January 30, 2018: International Journal on Drug Policy
Robert K Needleman, Isabelle P Neylan, Timothy Erickson
INTRODUCTION: Climate change has been scientifically documented, and its effects on wildlife have been prognosticated. We sought to predict the overall impact of climate change on venomous terrestrial species. We hypothesize that given the close relationship between terrestrial venomous species and climate, a changing global environment may result in increased species migration, geographical redistribution, and longer seasons for envenomation, which would have repercussions on human health...
January 29, 2018: Wilderness & Environmental Medicine
Samantha Ann Setterfield, Alan Neil Andersen
Seed predation can cause substantial seed losses and influence plant population dynamics, but the impact depends on the extent to which populations are limited by seed availability or favorable microsites for recruitment. Harvester ants are the dominant post-dispersal seed predators in Australia's tropical savannas, and their abundance and foraging efficiency, as well as the availability of seed and microsites, are affected by fire history. We undertook a predator-exclusion experiment to examine the interactive effects of fire history (no fire compared with annual burning over 5 years) and seed predation by ants on seedling establishment of the dominant savanna tree, Eucalyptus miniata, in northern Australia...
January 22, 2018: Oecologia
Michael Tennenbaum, Alberto Fernandez-Nieves
Fire ant aggregations are active materials composed of individual constituents that are able to transform internal energy into work. We find using rheology and direct visualization that the aggregation undergoes activity cycles that affect the mechanical properties of the system. When the activity is high, the aggregation approximately equally stores and dissipates energy, it is more homogeneous, and exerts a high outward force. When the activity is low, the aggregation is predominantly elastic, it is more heterogeneous, and it exerts a small outward force...
November 2017: Physical Review. E
Ivan Monteiro, Arleu Barbosa Viana-Junior, Ricardo Ribeiro de Castro Solar, Frederico de Siqueira Neves, Og DeSouza
Symbiosis, the living-together of unlike organisms, underlies every major transition in evolution and pervades most ecological dynamics. Among examples of symbioses, the simultaneous occupation of a termite nest by its builder termites and intruding invertebrate species (so-called termitophily) provides suitable macroscopic scenarios for the study of species coexistence in confined environments. Current evidence on termitophily abounds for dynamics occurring at the interindividual level within the termitarium, but is insufficient for broader scales such as the community and the landscape...
December 2017: Ecology and Evolution
L Hu, R R Balusu, W-Q Zhang, O S Ajayi, Y-Y Lu, R-S Zeng, H Y Fadamiro, L Chen
Some fire ants of the genus Solenopsis have become invasive species in the southern United States displacing native species by competition. Although the displacement pattern seems clear, the mechanisms underlying competitive advantage remain unclear. The ability of ant workers to produce relatively larger amount of alarm pheromone may correspond to relative greater fitness among sympatric fire ant species. Here we report on quantitative intra-specific (i.e. inter-caste) and inter-specific differences of alarm pheromone component, 2-ethyl-3,6-dimethylpyrazine (2E36DMP), for several fire ant species...
December 10, 2017: Bulletin of Entomological Research
Matthew J Ballinger, Logan D Moore, Steve J Perlman
Microbial partners play important roles in the biology and ecology of animals. In insects, maternally transmitted symbionts are especially common and can have host effects ranging from reproductive manipulation to nutrient provisioning and defense against natural enemies. In this study, we report a genus-wide association of Myrmica ants with the inherited bacterial symbiont Spiroplasma We screen Myrmica ants collected from the wild, including the invasive European fire ant, Myrmica rubra , and find an extraordinarily high prevalence of this symbiont-8 of 9 species, 42 of 43 colonies, and 250 of 276 individual workers harbored Spiroplasma -only one host species was uninfected...
February 15, 2018: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Steven M Valles, Jason B Oliver, Karla M Addesso
Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3) is a positive-sense, single-stranded RNA virus that infects the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren. We report here the full genome (10,383 nucleotides) of an isolate infecting Solenopsis invicta × richteri hybrid ants, which we have identified as SINV-3 hybrid.
November 30, 2017: Genome Announcements
Dustin A S Owen, Travis R Robbins, Tracy Langkilde
Environmental changes, such as the introduction of non-native species, can impose novel selective pressures. This can result in changes in fitness-relevant traits within an individual's lifetime or across multiple generations. We investigated the effects of early life versus trans-generational exposure to a predatory invasive insect stressor, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), on the morphology and survival of the eastern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus). We captured gravid lizards from high-stress populations with long histories of invasion by fire ants and from uninvaded sites...
February 2018: Oecologia
Amilcar Perez-Riverol, Luís Gustavo Romani Fernandes, Alexis Musacchio Lasa, José Roberto Aparecido Dos Santos-Pinto, Débora Moitinho Abram, Gabriel Hideki Izuka Moraes, Frederic Jabs, Michaela Miehe, Henning Seismman, Mario Sergio Palma, Ricardo de Lima Zollner, Edzard Spillner, Márcia Regina Brochetto-Braga
Molecular cross-reactivity caused by allergen homology or cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants (CCDs) is a major challenge for diagnosis and immunotherapy of insect venom allergy. Venom phospholipases A1 (PLA1s) are classical, mostly non-glycosylated wasp and ant allergens that provide diagnostic benefit for differentiation of genuine sensitizations from cross-reactivity. As CCD-free molecules, venom PLA1s are not causative for CCD-based cross-reactivity. Little is known however about the protein-based cross-reactivity of PLA1 within vespid species...
November 17, 2017: Molecular Immunology
George M Strain
The objective of the study was to assess the neurotoxicity, using electrodiagnostic tests, of hydramethylnon (Amdro, AC 217,300), an insecticide marketed for the treatment of red imported fire ants, cockroaches, and other insects. Animals were male Fisher 344 albino rats and Long-Evans hooded rats. Brainstem auditory, visual, and somatosensory evoked potentials (BAER, VEP, SEP) and electroencephalograms (EEG) were recorded from implanted screw electrodes before and at multiple time points through day 10 after a single oral dose of hydramethylnon (at 50% or 75% of the LD50) plus vehicle, or vehicle alone...
October 31, 2017: Research in Veterinary Science
Li Feng, Joshua E Motelow, Chanthia Ma, William Biche, Cian McCafferty, Nicholas Smith, Mengran Liu, Qiong Zhan, Ruonan Jia, Bo Xiao, Alvaro Duque, Hal Blumenfeld
The thalamus plays diverse roles in cortical-subcortical brain activity patterns. Recent work suggests that focal temporal lobe seizures depress subcortical arousal systems and convert cortical activity into a pattern resembling slow-wave sleep. The potential simultaneous and paradoxical role of the thalamus in both limbic seizure propagation, and in sleep-like cortical rhythms has not been investigated. We recorded neuronal activity from the central lateral (CL), anterior (ANT), and ventral posteromedial (VPM) nuclei of the thalamus in an established female rat model of focal limbic seizures...
November 22, 2017: Journal of Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Yujie Yan, Yu An, Xiaozhong Wang, Yingqi Chen, Melissa R Jacob, Babu L Tekwani, Liyan Dai, Xing-Cong Li
The first synthesis of 2-methyl-6-pentadecyl-Δ1,6 -piperideine (1), a major alkaloid of the piperideine chemotype in fire ant venoms, and its analogues, 2-methyl-6-tetradecyl-Δ1,6 -piperideine (2) and 2-methyl-6-hexadecyl-Δ1,6 -piperideine (3), was achieved by a facile synthetic method starting with glutaric acid (4) and urea (5). Compound 1 showed in vitro antifungal activity against Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida albicans with IC50 values of 6.6 and 12.4 μg/mL, respectively, and antibacterial activity against vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium with an IC50 value of 19...
October 27, 2017: Journal of Natural Products
Jiwei Zhu, Anirudh Dhammi, Jaap B van Kretschmar, Edward L Vargo, Charles S Apperson, R Michael Roe
BACKGROUND: Fumigants like phosphine, methyl bromide and sulfuryl fluoride are highly effective for the control of structural, storage and agricultural arthropod pests. Unfortunately, many of these synthetic compounds are highly toxic to people, many pests have developed resistance to these compounds, and methyl bromide, the "gold standard" for fumigants, was de-registered because of its depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. Alternative fumigant chemistry is needed. RESULTS: Several plant species produce n-aliphatic methyl ketones to prevent plant herbivory...
October 2, 2017: Pest Management Science
Li Chen, Henry Y Fadamiro
Human commerce has resulted in the spread of the imported fire ants, Solenopsis species, worldwide. Six species of parasitic Pseudacteon phorid flies that are highly host specific to the Solenopsis saevissima complex of Solenopsis fire ants have been successfully released in the southern United States. The presence of Pseudacteon phorid flies, in addition to having direct mortality effects on their host ants, modifies foraging behavior and disrupts interspecific competition between host species and other ant species in the community...
September 22, 2017: Annual Review of Entomology
Alison A Bockoven, Craig J Coates, Micky D Eubanks
Among social insects, colony-level variation is likely to be widespread and has significant ecological consequences. Very few studies, however, have documented how genetic factors relate to behaviour at the colony level. Differences in expression of the foraging gene have been associated with differences in foraging and activity of a wide variety of organisms. We quantified expression of the red imported fire ant foraging gene (sifor) in workers from 21 colonies collected across the natural range of Texas fire ant populations, but maintained under standardized, environmentally controlled conditions...
September 13, 2017: Molecular Ecology
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