Factsheet

The Little Fire Ant may be small but it has a very long scientific name - Wasmannia auropunctata. It is about 1.5 mm with a light to golden brown colour. Its home is Central and South America but it has travelled far to the Pacific islands and now lives in eight of our island countries - French Polynesia, Guam, Hawaii, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

The Pacific is biologically unique, as its isolated islands provide ideal conditions for the evolution of new species. Thus, Pacific islands have high numbers of "endemic"species - species that are restricted to only one or a few islands and found nowhere else in the world.

Every living thing in our Pacific islands environment is called biodiversity. Trees, fish, birds, mushrooms, forests and mangroves are all part of biodiversity.

Invasive species can be spread deliberately by people for food, as pets, for economic opportunity, or for planting in the garden. A few species such as the mongoose, were deliberately introduced to try and control other pests, but ended up becoming serious invasive species. Invasive species can be introduced accidently such as attaching themselves on cargo, clothing or equipment used in the field. In the marine environment, invasive species are commonly introduced through the ballast water of ships.

Don’t bring risky plant material, fruit or cut flowers into your country or take them to another country without advice from your Quarantine Service. Make sure shoes and personal items are clean and free of plant seeds and insects.