Introduced ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of mainland France and Belgium, with a focus on greenhouses

Rumsaïs Blatrix*, Théotime Colin, Philippe Wegnez, Christophe Galkowski, Philippe Geniez

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The monitoring of introduced species is becoming more important as global trade intensifies. Although ants make up a larger proportion of species on the list of the most invasive species in the world compared with other groups, little is known about the occurrence of those introduced in France, especially inside heated buildings. Here we review the literature available for mainland France and Belgium and report the results of a survey conducted with the help of tropical building managers between 2014 and 2016. We report for the first time in France the presence of Technomyrmex vitiensis and Plagiolepis alluaudi in multiple greenhouses. Technomyrmex difficilis was also found in one greenhouse for the first time in Europe. The diversity of introduced ants in greenhouses is very low, and these buildings are most often dominated by one or two species. We compared the most recent data and those collected throughout the twentieth century and showed that ant communities have changed substantially. Greenhouses could be responsible for the introduction of invasive species because they regularly import exotic plants, but we found no evidence that the three species of invasive ants present outdoors in France were introduced from greenhouses, where they rarely occur. We also report that introduced ants are pests in greenhouses because they disperse scale insects and kill biological control agents. The suppression of these ants could ease the maintenance of plants inside greenhouses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-308
Number of pages16
JournalAnnales de la Societe Entomologique de France
Volume54
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2018

Keywords

  • introduced species
  • tropical greenhouses
  • biological invasions
  • ants
  • Formicidae
  • social insects

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