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The tawny (or raspberry) crazy ant invasion just got surreal.

Supercolonial structure of invasive populations of the tawny crazy ...

Social insects are ... particularly successful at monopolizing environmental resources to outcompete native species and achieve ecological dominance. The invasive success of some social insects is enhanced by their unicolonial structure, under which the presence of numerous queens and the lack of aggression against non-nestmates allow high worker densities, colony growth, and survival while eliminating intra-specific competition. In this study, we investigated the population genetics, colony structure and levels of aggression in the tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, which was recently introduced into the United States from South America.

Overall, these results suggest that across its entire invasive range in the U.S.A., this species forms a single supercolony spreading more than 2000 km. In each invasive nest, we found several, up to hundreds, of reproductive queens, each being mated with a single male. The many reproductive queens per nests, together with the free movement of individuals between nests, leads to a relatedness coefficient among nestmate workers close to zero in introduced populations,... [emphasis mine]

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