Wayne's Alien Species Update
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Introduced (Non-Native) Species In
San Diego County & Elsewhere

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 © W.P. Armstrong 2014 

Go To Latest Alien Species Note On This Page
Wayne's Alien Species #1 (15 January 2013)

In case you haven't heard: The South African brown widow has made its way to San Diego County, including Escondido & Vista. The egg sac is very distinctive and unmistakable. It is covered with pointed protuberances, unlike the smooth sac of our native black widow. See comb-footed spiders on Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/redmite.htm#blkwidow.


Wayne's Alien Species #2 (4 March 2013)

I recently visited the University of Arizona's amazing Biosphere 2 ecosystem project. Even with all the safety precautions, including sealed doors and elaborate air-lock system, the Biosphere 2 complex has been invaded by a small, long-legged ant from tropical Asia called the "long-horned crazy ant." I had no trouble locating this ant as I walked up one of the stairways. It can survive in highly disturbed and artificial areas, including ships at sea. Since it can live indoors with humans, there is no limit to the latitude where it can exist. It has been reported from Sweden to New Zealand! More Images on Wayne's Word:

       The Long-Horned Crazy Ant: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/Super5.htm#Biosphere.
       Biosphere 2, Oracle, Arizona: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/Super9.htm.


Wayne's Alien Species #3 (12 March 2013)

They're Here! The South American imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) has made its way to San Diego County, including Mira Mesa (Miramar College). The stinging workers come in 2 sizes (major & minor). Their domb-shaped nest in lawns is about the size of a gopher mound. See Wayne's Word: http://waynesword.palomar.edu/redmite8b.htm.


Wayne's Alien Species #4 (2 April 2013)

Novel use for a newly discovered Mediterranean mustard weed (Brassica fruticulosa) in Escondido: Fresh, tender leaves sautéed with slices of garlic and almonds. Be sure to use this edible species only! More information & photos: New Italian Mustard In Escondido


Wayne's Alien Species #5 (17 December 2016)

The little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) has been introduced to Maui (and other Hawaiian Islands) through the nursery trade and other ways. Although it is tiny, it packs a potent sting and is a potentially disastrous alien introduction. www.lfa-hawaii.org


Wayne's Alien Species #6 (18 December 2016)

Little Yellow Ant (Plagiolepis alluaudi), one of the smallest ants: This tiny ant was introduced to Hawaii in 1913. Dried ants adhere to needle probes and other objects due to static electricity. They will even "jump" or move on a light box making them difficult to arrange for close-up photography. They are about the diameter of the eye of an Asian carpenter ant!


Wayne's Alien Species #7 (18 December 2016)

Pharaoh Ant (Monomorium pharaonis): Another small ant introduced to Hawaii in 1913. Most references give the overall length at 2.0 mm; however, the ants I collected at the Sugar Mill Museum across the road from the Pu'unene Sugar Mill on Maui were about 2.2 to 2.4 mm. This landmark mill closed down shortly after this photo was taken. The derivation of its common name is unknown. Perhaps it is derived from ancient Egypt where it may have been one of the troublesome insect pests that plagued this region. It is similar in size and general appearance to the thief ant (Solenopsis molesta).


Wayne's Alien Species #8 (22 December 2016)

Nominated as one of the "world's worst invaders," this species has a widespread distribution. According to E. O. Wilson (2003), the megacephala complex is a tropicopolitan tramp globally spread by human commerce. In Maui, Hawaii I have seen colonies living undetected in corrugations of cardboard boxes. The large head and jaws of majors come in handy when defending colonies. More Information & Images From Maui