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New Zealand Ants

Darren Ward

New Zealand has just 11 recognized species of native ants, all of which are endemic. However, 27 ant species have become established in New Zealand as a result of human trade. Little information exists about any of New Zealand's ants.

Awareness of invasive ants has increased in recent years due of the establishment and rapid spread of Linepithema humile, as well as the establishment and successful eradication of Solenopsis invicta. A large number of exotic species continue to arrive on New Zealand's shores every year, so further introductions are expected.

Several native ant taxa are in need of revision. For example, Monomorium antarcticum is actually a complex of four to five species. Monomorium antipodum may not be an endemic species, but an introduction from Australia. Several introduced species have been misidentified in the past as global tramp species, but are now thought to represent undescribed species from Australia.

The impact of introduced ant species, and the absence of a large and dominant ant fauna shaping New Zealand's unique biota, have yet to be resolved.

Darren Ward
New Zealand Ant Curator

Recent publications by Ward and colleagues: NZ checklist
Origin of exotic ants
Expansion of Argentine Ants
Habitat invasibility by Argentine ants