Academic department under which the project should be listed

CSM - Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Clint Penick

Abstract (300 words maximum)

New York City has been the site of introduction for some of North America’s most damaging invasive pests, from chestnut blight to the Asian long-horned beetle. Despite these cautionary examples, there has been no formal tracking of a newly introduced ant species, Lasius cf. emarginatus, which has quickly become among the most common species in the city. Sometime between the first ant diversity survey of New York City in 2006 and the second in 2011,L. cf. emarginatus was introduced and quickly became established in the most urban habitats with the highest human contact. In contrast to other urban exploiting ant species, L. cf. emarginatus does not appear to be feeding on human food waste. Instead, we hypothesized that L. cf. emarginatus may be exploiting a novel urban niche space by feeding on homopeteran-produced honeydew in the canopies of urban street trees left vacant by native species that cannot tolerate urban conditions. Here I will compile the known natural history of L. cf. emarginatus in its native range and what we know so far about this species in the United States. I will also outline the potential impacts of this L. cf. emarginatus’ introduction and present methods that will be used to study this species’ diet and survival in a highly urban habitat.

Disciplines

Entomology | Integrative Biology

Project Type

Poster

How will this be presented?

Yes, in person

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New ant in the big city: Known natural history of Lasius cf. emarginatus in its native range and potential impacts of recent US introduction

New York City has been the site of introduction for some of North America’s most damaging invasive pests, from chestnut blight to the Asian long-horned beetle. Despite these cautionary examples, there has been no formal tracking of a newly introduced ant species, Lasius cf. emarginatus, which has quickly become among the most common species in the city. Sometime between the first ant diversity survey of New York City in 2006 and the second in 2011,L. cf. emarginatus was introduced and quickly became established in the most urban habitats with the highest human contact. In contrast to other urban exploiting ant species, L. cf. emarginatus does not appear to be feeding on human food waste. Instead, we hypothesized that L. cf. emarginatus may be exploiting a novel urban niche space by feeding on homopeteran-produced honeydew in the canopies of urban street trees left vacant by native species that cannot tolerate urban conditions. Here I will compile the known natural history of L. cf. emarginatus in its native range and what we know so far about this species in the United States. I will also outline the potential impacts of this L. cf. emarginatus’ introduction and present methods that will be used to study this species’ diet and survival in a highly urban habitat.

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