Invasive Ants & Allergies

Samsum Ant

Pachycondyla sennaarensis
Image: Nikbakhtzadeh & Colleagues*

Ants species that nest in items involved in world trade are greatly increasing their distribution. Some have established or become invasive in their new homes. Ants in the genus Pachycondyla have been reported to cause allergic reactions in some sting victims. A previous post discussed allergic reation to Pachycondyla chinensis stings in Korea and its more recent home, the United States. Another species in the same genus, Pachycondyla sennaarensis, the Samsum Ant, is a native of Sudan that has spread throughout the Arab Gulf States and into Iran. The ant will inhabit residences where it can come in contact with humans. Cases of anaphylactic reactions to the stings of this ant have been reported in multiple countries. People and cultures who lack experience with ants that can deliver such potent stings are required to adapt to the challenges of these invasive species.

*Nikbakhtzadeh MR, Akbarzadeh K, Tirgari S. 2009. BIOECOLOGY AND CHEMICAL DIVERSITY OF ABDOMINAL GLANDS IN THE IRANIAN SAMSUM ANT Pachycondyla sennaarensis. J Venom Anim Toxins incl Trop Dis. 15:509-526.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
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