The causes and consequences of ant invasions

David A. Holway, Lori Lach, Andrew V. Suarez, Neil D. Tsutsui, Ted J. Case

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Invasions by non-native ants are an ecologically destructive phenomenon affecting both continental and island ecosystems throughout the world. Invasive ants often become highly abundant in their introduced range and can outnumber native ants. These numerical disparities underlie the competitive asymmetry between invasive ants and native ants and result from a complex interplay of behavioral, ecological, and genetic factors. Reductions in the diversity and abundance of native ants resulting from ant invasions give rise to a variety of direct and indirect effects on non-ant taxa. Invasive ants compete with and prey upon a diversity of other organisms, including some vertebrates, and may enter into or disrupt mutualistic interactions with numerous plants and other insects. Experimental studies and research focused on the native range ecology of invasive ants will be especially valuable contributions to this field of study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-233
Number of pages53
JournalAnnual Review of Ecology and Systematics
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Ants
  • Biological invasion
  • Indirect effects
  • Interspecific competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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