Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.
RESEARCH ARTICLE

An invasive ant distribution database to support biosecurity risk analysis in the Pacific

Monica A. M. Gruber A B C , Meghan Cooling B and Allan R. Burne B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology, School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand.

B Pacific Biosecurity, Victoria Link Limited, Victoria University of Wellington, PO Box 1762, Wellington, New Zealand.

C Corresponding author. Email: monica.gruber@vuw.ac.nz

Pacific Conservation Biology 23(3) 258-261 https://doi.org/10.1071/PC17004
Submitted: 7 February 2017  Accepted: 27 March 2017   Published: 15 June 2017

Abstract

Invasive species are one of the most serious threats to biodiversity. Up-to-date and accurate information on the distribution of invasive species is an important biosecurity risk analysis tool. Several databases are available to determine the distributions of invasive and native species. However, keeping this information current is a real challenge. Ants are among the most widespread invasive species. Five species of ants are listed in the IUCN list of damaging invasive species, and many other species are also invasive in the Pacific. We sought to determine and update the distribution information for the 18 most problematic invasive ant species in the Pacific to assist Small Island Developing States with risk analysis. We compared the information on six public databases, conducted a literature review, and contacted experts on invasive ants in the Pacific region to resolve conflicting information. While most public records were accurate we found some new records had not yet been incorporated in the public databases, and some information was inaccurate. The maintenance of public databases faces an enormous challenge in balancing completeness (~15 000 ant species in this case) with accuracy (the impossibility of constantly surveying) and utility.

Additional keywords: invasive species, biological invasions


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