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Insects 2018, 9(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9010011

Growing Industries, Growing Invasions? The Case of the Argentine Ant in Vineyards of Northern Argentina

1
FCN-IEBI (Instituto para el Estudio de la Biodiversidad de Invertebrados), CONICET CCT-Salta, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Salta, Av. Bolivia 5150, CP 4400 Salta, Argentina
2
Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 December 2017 / Revised: 18 January 2018 / Accepted: 23 January 2018 / Published: 29 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Pest Control in Orchards and Vineyards)
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Abstract

The invasive Argentine ant causes ecological and economic damage worldwide. In 2011, this species was reported in vineyards of Cafayate, a wine-producing town in the Andes, Argentina. While the local xeric climate is unsuitable for Argentine ants, populations could establish in association with vineyards where human activity and irrigation facilitate propagule introduction and survival. In 2013–2014, we combined extensive sampling of the area using ant-baits with monitoring of the change in land use and vineyard cultivated area over the past 15 years. Our results revealed that the species has thus far remained confined to a relatively isolated small area, owing to an effective barrier of dry shrublands surrounding the infested vineyards; yet the recent expansion of vineyard acreage in this region will soon connect this encapsulated area with the rest of the valley. When this happens, vulnerable ecosystems and the main local industry will be put at risk. This case provides a rare opportunity to study early invasion dynamics and reports, to the best of our knowledge, for the first time, the Argentine ant in high altitude agroecosystems. View Full-Text
Keywords: Linepithema humile; vineyard; invasive species; Argentina Linepithema humile; vineyard; invasive species; Argentina
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Schulze-Sylvester, M.; Corronca, J.A.; Paris, C.I. Growing Industries, Growing Invasions? The Case of the Argentine Ant in Vineyards of Northern Argentina. Insects 2018, 9, 11.

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