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Technomyrmex vitiensis is an “accomplished tramp” ant (Bolton 2007) in the family Formicidae that is widespread across Southeast Asia, on the continent and islands from the Indian Ocean to Polynesia, and in some European greenhouses (Bolton 2007; Wetterer 2008).  It is one of two species of the large genus Technomyrmex (90+ species) to have invaded the New World; first reported in the Golden Gate Park Conservatory, San Francisco, California (Bolton 2007).  It has since been collected in two remote inland forest sites in French Guiana, though it is not clear how it got there.  Delabie et al. (2011) hypothesize that it was introduced by way of trade routes through overseas French territories. 

This species (as is the case with closely related T. difficilis) has been frequently misidentified as the very similar T. albipes in museum collections and in the literature (Wetterer 2008; Delabie et al. 2011).

Technomyrmex vitiensis nests and forages in a broad spectrum of locations, on the ground in leaf litter, under rocks, in dead wood and up in vegetation.  Like other ants in the species group Albipes (to which T. difficilis belongs), it uses a technique of colony reproduction that is unique in the Formicidae which involves production of “reproductive worker-queen intercast” individuals allowing colonies to multiply quickly by fissioning into multiple nests and reproducing in large numbers.  Colonies cover large areas, populating diverse ecosystems and negatively impact pollinators, pollination and seed dispersal, and other ant species (Bolton 2007).  Scientists expect that like its close relative, T. difficilis which has spread quickly through the southern United States and West Indies, T. vitiensis will also rapidly disperse from French Guiana, potentially invading Brazil and Surinam (Delabie et al. 2011).


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