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Fire ants

Gail L McCormick, Travis R Robbins, Sonia A Cavigelli, Tracy Langkilde
Exposure to stressors can affect an organism's physiology and behavior as well as that of its descendants (e.g. through maternal effects, epigenetics, and/or selection). We examined the relative influence of early life vs. transgenerational stress exposure on adult stress physiology in a species that has populations with and without ancestral exposure to an invasive predator. We raised offspring of eastern fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) from sites historically invaded (high stress) or uninvaded (low stress) by predatory fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) and determined how this different transgenerational exposure to stress interacted with the effects of early life stress exposure to influence the physiological stress response in adulthood...
November 15, 2016: Hormones and Behavior
Masfer H Alkahtani, Fahad S Alghannam, Carlos Sanchez, Carmen L Gomes, Hong Liang, Philip R Hemmer
Upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) are of interest because they allow suppression of tissue autofluorescence and are therefore visible deep inside biological tissue. Compared to upconversion dyes, UCNPs have a lower pump intensity threshold, better photostability, and less toxicity. Recently, YVO4: Er(+3), Yb(+3) nanoparticles were shown to exhibit strong up-conversion luminescence with a relatively low 10 kW cm(-2) excitation intensity even in water, which makes them excellent bio-imaging candidates. Herein, we investigate their use as internal probes in insects by injecting YVO4 : Er(+3), Yb(+3) nanoparticles into fire ants as a biological model, and obtain 2D optical images with 980 nm illumination...
December 2, 2016: Nanotechnology
Sasha Kay, Daniel Skowronski, Brendan G Hunt
DNA methylation is accomplished in animals by two classes of enzymes known as DNA methyltransferases, DNMT3 and DNMT1, which perform de novo methylation and maintenance methylation, respectively. Several studies of hymenopteran eusocial insects suggest that DNA methylation is capable of influencing developmental plasticity. However, fundamental questions remain about the patterning of DNA methylation during the course of insect development. In this study, we performed quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) on transcripts from the single-copy orthologs of DNMT1 and DNMT3 in the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta...
October 24, 2016: Insect Science
Wei Zhang, Arun Wanchoo, Almudena Ortiz-Urquiza, Yuxian Xia, Nemat O Keyhani
Insects interact with the surrounding environment via chemoreception, and in social insects such as ants, chemoreception functions to mediate diverse behaviors including food acquisition, self/non-self recognition, and intraspecific communication. The invasive red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, has spread worldwide, displaying a remarkable environmental adaptability. Odorant binding proteins (OBPs) are chemical compound carriers, involved in diverse physiological processes including odor detection and chemical transport...
October 21, 2016: Scientific Reports
Peter A Follett, Sol Porcel, Luis A Calcaterra
We studied radiation tolerance in queens of the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) to identify a dose that prevents reproduction. Virgin or fertile queens were collected from Santa Fe and Formosa provinces in Argentina and reared in the laboratory in microcolonies. Virgin queens were irradiated at 0 (control), 70, 90, 120, or 150 Gy, and fertile queens were irradiated at 0, 60, 125, and 190 Gy, and then followed for 11 wk in the microcolonies to evaluate survival and reproduction...
September 28, 2016: Journal of Economic Entomology
Adrian A Castellanos, Matthew C I Medeiros, Gabriel L Hamer, Michael E Morrow, Micky D Eubanks, Pete D Teel, Sarah A Hamer, Jessica E Light
Invasive species may impact pathogen transmission by altering the distributions and interactions among native vertebrate reservoir hosts and arthropod vectors. Here, we examined the direct and indirect effects of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) on the native tick, small mammal and pathogen community in southeast Texas. Using a replicated large-scale field manipulation study, we show that small mammals were more abundant on treatment plots where S. invicta populations were experimentally reduced...
September 2016: Biology Letters
Yu-Ching Huang, Chih-Chi Lee, Chia-Yi Kao, Ni-Chen Chang, Chung-Chi Lin, DeWayne Shoemaker, John Wang
BACKGROUND: Centromeres are essential for accurate chromosome segregation, yet sequence conservation is low even among closely related species. Centromere drive predicts rapid turnover because some centromeric sequences may compete better than others during female meiosis. In addition to sequence composition, longer centromeres may have a transmission advantage. RESULTS: We report the first observations of extremely long centromeres, covering on average 34 % of the chromosomes, in the red imported fire ant Solenopsis invicta...
2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
M Schiener, B Eberlein, C Moreno-Aguilar, G Pietsch, P Serrano, M McIntyre, L Schwarze, D Russkamp, T Biedermann, E Spillner, U Darsow, M Ollert, C B Schmidt-Weber, S Blank
BACKGROUND: Hymenoptera stings can cause severe anaphylaxis in untreated venom-allergic patients. A correct diagnosis regarding the relevant species for immunotherapy is often hampered by clinically irrelevant cross-reactivity. In vespid venom allergy, cross-reactivity between venoms of different species can be a diagnostic challenge. To address immunological IgE cross-reactivity on molecular level, seven recombinant antigens 5 of the most important Vespoidea groups were assessed by different diagnostic setups...
August 6, 2016: Allergy
Yuzhen Wen, Tao Ma, Xuan Chen, Zhitao Liu, Chengqi Zhu, Yuanyuan Zhang, Rachel Strecker, Gregg Henderson, Linda M Hooper-Bùi, Xiaoyang Chen, Zhaohui Sun, Xiujun Wen, Cai Wang
In the present study, the repellent effects of essential balm, a traditional medicine product in China, was tested against foraging and defending red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, under laboratory and field conditions. The laboratory study showed that both band- (width = 1 cm) and patch-smearing of essential balm at each concentration (0.5, 1, or 2 μl/cm(2)) significantly decreased the number of S. invicta foragers within the 6-h observation period. Moreover, band-smearing of 2 μl/cm(2) essential balm and patch-smearing of 0...
August 2016: Journal of Economic Entomology
M T Bentley, D A Hahn, F M Oi
Determining the upper (CTmax) and lower (CTmin) critical thermal limits of invasive ants provides insight into how temperature could shape their distribution, seasonality, and daily activity. Understanding the potential distribution of invasive ants is imperative to improving quarantine and management efforts. Nylanderia fulva (Mayr) (tawny crazy ant) and Solenopsis invicta (Buren) (red imported fire ant) are invasive ants that are established throughout the southeastern United States. Recent studies have found that body size and thermal ramping rate can affect the estimation of critical thermal limits...
August 2016: Environmental Entomology
Lucas N Paolucci, Maria L B Maia, Ricardo R C Solar, Ricardo I Campos, José H Schoereder, Alan N Andersen
The widespread clearing of tropical forests causes lower tree cover, drier microclimate, and higher and drier fuel loads of forest edges, increasing the risk of fire occurrence and its intensity. We used a manipulative field experiment to investigate the influence of fire and fuel loads on ant communities and their interactions with myrmecochorous seeds in the southern Amazon, a region currently undergoing extreme land-use intensification. Experimental fires and fuel addition were applied to 40 × 40-m plots in six replicated blocks, and ants were sampled between 15 and 30 days after fires in four strata: subterranean, litter, epigaeic, and arboreal...
October 2016: Oecologia
Jackson A Helms, Aaron P Godfrey, Tayna Ames, Eli S Bridge
Aerial predator-prey interactions may impact populations of many terrestrial species. Here, we use altitude loggers to study aerial foraging in a native insectivore, the purple martin (Progne subis), in the southern USA. Purple martins fed primarily on mating queens and males of the invasive red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), and doubled their foraging efficiency by doing so. Across the USA, purple martins likely eat billions of fire ant queens each year, potentially impacting the spread of this species...
May 2016: Biology Letters
Alex R Aguiar, Elson S Alvarenga, Mayara C Lopes, Izailda B Dos Santos, Tarcisio V Galdino, Marcelo C Picanço
The objective of this study was to determine the toxicity of the nine synthetic dienamides against the insect pest Diaphania hyalinata (melonworm) and the selectivity of these substances for the predator Solenopsis saevissima (fire ant). Four bioassays were conducted. To begin with, the dienamides that caused high mortality of D. hyalinata have been selected. In the second bioassay the dose-mortality curves of the selected dienamides have been constructed. In the third bioassay, the survival curves for D. hyalinata and the elapsed time to kill 50% of their population have been determined...
September 2016: Journal of Environmental Science and Health. Part. B, Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes
Steven M Valles, Charles A Strong, Anne-Marie A Callcott
The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, is an aggressive, highly invasive pest ant species from South America that has been introduced into North America, Asia, and Australia. Quarantine efforts have been imposed in the USA to minimize further spread of the ant. To aid the quarantine efforts, there remains an acute need for a rapid, field portable method for the identification of these ants. In this report, we describe two novel monoclonal antibodies that specifically bind the S. invicta venom protein 2 produced by S...
July 2016: Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Elizabeth G Pascale, Rachel K Thiet
The Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis Nabokov) (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae) is a federally listed, endangered species that has experienced dramatic decline over its historic range. In surviving populations, Karner blue butterflies have a facultative mutualism with ants that could be critically important to their survival where their populations are threatened by habitat loss or disturbance. In this study, we investigated the effects of ants, wild blue lupine population status (native or restored), and fire on adult Karner blue butterfly abundance at the Concord Pine Barrens, NH, USA...
April 22, 2016: Environmental Entomology
Timo Möttönen, Jani Katisko, Joonas Haapasalo, Timo Tähtinen, Antti Saastamoinen, Jukka Peltola, Juha Öhman, Kai Lehtimäki
BACKGROUND: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus) (ANT) has been suggested as a treatment option in refractory epilepsy. The targeting of ANT is especially challenging due to its poor visualization in commonly used MRI sequences, lack of easily observable symptom relief during surgery and high degree of anatomical variation between individuals. OBJECTIVES: To study whether intraoperative microelectrode recording (MER), a method widely used in movement disorder surgery, provides clinically relevant information during the ANT-DBS implantation procedure...
2016: Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Jackson A Helms, Aaron Godfrey
In the Found or Fly (FoF) hypothesis ant queens experience reproduction-dispersal tradeoffs such that queens with heavier abdomens are better at founding colonies but are worse flyers. We tested predictions of FoF in two globally invasive fire ants, Solenopsis geminata (Fabricius, 1804) and S. invicta (Buren, 1972). Colonies of these species may produce two different monogyne queen types-claustral queens with heavy abdomens that found colonies independently, and parasitic queens with small abdomens that enter conspecific nests...
2016: PloS One
Sulisay Phonekeo, Tanvi Dave, Matthew Kern, Scott V Franklin, David L Hu
Fire ants, Solenopsis invicta, link their bodies together to form structures such as rafts, bivouacs and bridges. Such structures are in danger of being damaged by natural disturbances such as passing water currents. In this combined experimental and theoretical study, we investigate the self-healing of ant assemblages. We press two ant aggregations together and measure the forces to pull them apart. As the group size increases, the contribution of each ant decreases. This phenomenon, known as the Ringelmann effect, or social loafing, has previously been shown for cattle and humans...
May 14, 2016: Soft Matter
Joshua R King, Walter R Tschinkel
A key shortcoming in our understanding of exotic species' success is that it is not known how post-introduction dispersal contributes to the success of exotic species and the reassembly of invaded communities. Exotic and native species face poorly understood competition-colonization trade-offs in heterogeneous landscapes of natural and anthropogenic habitats. We conducted three experiments that tested how ant queen behavior during dispersal affects community composition. Using experimental plots, we tested whether (1) different types of habitat disturbance and (2) different sizes of habitat disturbance affected the abundance of newly mated queens landing in the plots...
January 2016: Ecology
Mark W Herr, Travis R Robbins, Alan Centi, Christopher J Thawley, Tracy Langkilde
As species become increasingly exposed to novel challenges, it is critical to understand how evolutionary (i.e., generational) and plastic (i.e., within lifetime) responses work together to determine a species' fate or predict its distribution. The introduction of non-native species imposes novel pressures on the native species that they encounter. Understanding how native species exposed to toxic or distasteful invaders change their feeding behavior can provide insight into their ability to cope with these novel threats as well as broader questions about the evolution of this behavior...
July 2016: Oecologia
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