Monday, February 23, 2015

16th c. spread

Fire ants have a dubious distinction as one of the first worldwide invasive species, being spread from the New World around the globe in 16th c. Spanish galleons. Entomologist Andrew Suarez of the University of Illinois explains, "A lot of these ships, particularly if they were going somewhere to pick up commerce, would fill their ballast with soil and then they would dump the soil out in a new port and replace it with cargo. They were unknowingly moving huge numbers of organisms in the ballast soil."

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