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Potential use of reproductive manipulators to control invasive alien ants

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Introduction of alien species is a worldwide problem that accompanies human activity. Invasive alien ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) are among those predatory invertebrates that cause the greatest damage to native ecosystems and biodiversity, and their management is difficult. Therefore, novel environmental load–reducing (i.e., highly invasive alien ant–specific) management methods are required. In this review, we present novel potential methods of invasive alien ant management that would use microorganisms to manipulate reproduction in the host arthropod. In general, reproductive manipulators force costs against their hosts during reproduction. However, most of the manipulators themselves incur no, or little, cost during the usual life of the host. Therefore, reproductive manipulators can be especially effective against social insects. For example, reproductive manipulators can decrease mating chance for males by killing or feminizing males. In addition, manipulators that induce parthenogenesis or cytoplasmic incompatibility (herein abbreviated CI) may be useful in new techniques for generating sterile males for release. Transinfection with reproductive manipulators by using microinjection techniques has recently become available. This strategy should be of great help in developing and applying this novel management method.

Affiliations: 1: 1 Graduate School of Environmental Sciences, Hokkaido University, Kita-ku, Sapporo Hokkaido 060-0808, Japan, e-mail: ; 2: 2 National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Owashi 1-2, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8634 Japan, e-mail:


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