Invasive “crazy ants” are rapidly displacing fire ants in areas across the southeastern U.S. by secreting a compound that neutralizes fire ant venom, according to a University of Texas at Austin study published this week in the journal Science Express. It’s the first known example of an insect with the ability to detoxify another insect’s venom.
UT Austin Establishes Texas Invasive Species Program with $2.7 Million from Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation
To combat and manage pesky invasive species such as fire ants, tawny crazy ants and Cactoblastis moths, the Texas Invasive Species Program has been established at The University of Texas at Austin with $2.7 million in support from the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation.
The ecologically dominant crazy ants are reducing diversity and abundance across a range of ant and arthropod species.
Lawrence Gilbert, professor of integrative biology and director of the Brackenridge Field Laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named the 2012 Distinguished Texas Scientist by the Texas Academy of Science.