We uncovered taxonomic diversity, country of origin and commodity type of intercepted ants at Taiwanese borders based on an 8 year database of 439 interception records. We found intercepted ants arrived predominantly via timber, a pattern likely reflecting the high domestic demand for foreign timber in Taiwan. The most frequently intercepted species were either arboreal or wood-dwelling ants, raising a concern of these ants constituting a next wave of ant invasion in Taiwan. Further analyses indicate that the taxonomic composition of intercepted ants does not match that of established non-native ant species, suggesting that interception data alone fails to provide adequate power to predict the establishment success of ants. Yet, interception frequency and selected life-history traits (i.e., flexible colony founding mode and general nesting habits) were shown to jointly serve as a practical predictor of the establishment risk of non-native ants. Consistent with other border interception databases, secondary introduction (i.e., species arriving from their introduced ranges instead of their native ranges) also represents a major pathway for transport of invasive ants into Taiwan, suggesting its role in shaping the global invasion of ants. Our findings offer baseline information for constructing a prediction framework for future ant invasions and assist in the decision-making process of quarantine authorities in Taiwan.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science