The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Australia’s largest butterfly flight aviary, will be hosting the release of a research paper investigating the yellow crazy ants and their devastating impact in Australian rainforest sites.
The research paper was written by Dr Lori Lach, Research Fellow at James Cook University, and some of her students. The paper specifically investigates the yellow crazy ant attacks on the caterpillars of the Cruiser Butterfly. The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary donated Cruiser Butterfly caterpillar eggs to James Cook University to assist with the research for the paper.
Australian Butterfly Sanctuary Manager Mel Nikolich said the sanctuary was proud to be involved with the research paper, given the impact of the ants on the rainforest. “The yellow crazy ants are a hot topic in the region at the moment, and it’s vital that we do everything we can to prevent their spread,” she said.
“We hope that by donating caterpillar eggs to James Cook University for their research project, they will be able to understand in more detail how the ants behave and work towards reducing their impact, or even eliminating them entirely.”
The yellow crazy ants, considered one of the world’s worst invasive species, are currently infesting agricultural areas around Edmonton and Bentley Park, as well as a residential area near the Wet Tropics World Heritage area in Kuranda.
The research paper – ‘High invasive ant activity drives predation of a native butterfly larva’ – has now been accepted for publication in an international journal, published by Wiley.