The Argentine ant, which is spreading in Europe, has seasonal viruses

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Published – The University of Oulu news

Argentinian Ants are spread all over the world with humans and are one of the most successful alien species.In the past, researchers at the University of Oulu, along with researchers at the University of Girona, have identified the viruses of the Argentine ants that have spread to the Mediterranean, and are now collaborating on the ecology of Argentine ants,since the success of the alien species in the new habitat may be affected by the absence of the species-limiting pathogen.

European ants in Argentina have at least ten different species of virus, some of which are also infections in their populations in America and New Zealand.A new study found that the ant queen has more viruses than workers or females. Perhaps this is because the queen has more social contacts where viruses are spreading,or else their bodies only withstand more viruses than workers and females.

Some viruses were detectable in ants throughout the seasons. The most interesting observation was that some of the viruses were seasonal, ie they arrived in the warm season and disappeared when the air got cold. Ants gathering activity also increases during the warm season and it is possible that ants get these seasonal viruses from the insects they use for food.

The indigenous insect viruses in the area are therefore an invasive alien species. Season Viruses did not noticeably cause harm to the ants.Because of their thousands of kilometers off the Mediterranean coast, the Argentine ants could spread viruses over a very wide area in the wild.An example of such a virus, which also infects Argentine ants only during the warm season, is the honeybee infectious Kashmir bee virus, which contributes to global bee mortality.

Source: University of Oulu

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