Little fire ant

This report contributes to the GEF PAS project "Prevention, eradication and control of invasive alien species in the Pacific islands". It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and executed by Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) in partnership with the Department of Environment Protection & Conservation, Vanuatu.

Since Elton highlighted the problem of biological invasions, numerous studies have established their importance in the structural evolution of natural communities, in particular insular communities. Because of their isolation, islands are regarded as natural evolution laboratories which are characteristically very fragile once the boundary is disturbed. This fragility is illustrated by the high proportion of species extinctions observed in islands: since 1600, more than 75% of monitored disappearances have been registered in islands.

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.