Polar ants?

Is there anywhere that ants do not live, such as Iceland, Antarctica, Alaska or Greenland? It is hard to find an answer to these questions on the web.

Jinho Lee

Dear Jinho

Thanks for another interesting question on ants. And thanks for your permission to post this at the antweb blog, as I did with your earlier set of questions.

There are a few ants that live in southern Alaska and neighboring northwestern Canada. One of these, Lasius neoniger, also known as the cornfield ant, is thought to be a relatively recent arrival from the south. It lives in the relatively warm and well-drained habitat of raised road beds, along highways. There are no resident ants in Iceland, Greenland or Antarctica.

It is a bit difficult to find information on your question, because people usually don't put up negative information, i.e., there are no ants in a particular location, so no one mentions ants from there. Here is a link to an article on ants of the Yukon: http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/pdf/francoeur.pdf.

It may surprise you to learn that there are also no native ants on the remote tropical islands of Polynesia or Hawaii. However, these all now have numerous "tramp" ant species brought in (accidentally) by human trade and commerce - a synthetic ant fauna, if you will.

James C. Trager of the Askant Team

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