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Over hunting?


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#41 Offline Phoenix - Posted September 23 2017 - 5:25 AM

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The Only Species / Genus That I Would Consider Over-Hunted [By Me], Happens To Be Various Invasive Species.


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#42 Offline LC3 - Posted September 23 2017 - 2:57 PM

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So provide some statistics about the danger and maybe I will be convinced that it is too dangerous to release native species. But all I hear is: "we are myrmecologist listen to us" but if you are so sure about the danger you must have some reliable data you could share with us. 
 
Let's forbid candles they might cause fire it is too dangerous and Barbecue it contributes to global warming!
 
My experience at least with some German myrmecologists is that they follow their own agenda which is often not supported by facts but by arguing with their rank as scientist.
 
For example one German myrmecologist said that a leaf cutter ant species from Mexico (which did escape and ate some roses in neighbor's garden) could survive the winter in Germany, have nuptial flights etc. He even gave interviews to German newspapers and told them this nonsense. Of course the colony died during the first winter. So currently my trust in myrmecologist regarding danger for nature is almost at 0. A lot of them try to push their own agenda even ignoring facts and science.
 
I released a Camponotus vagus colony in my garden four years ago. This species is classified near extinction in Germany (but is quite common in Southern Europe). The colony still lives in several pieces of dead wood. Of course no infection did spread and no wild ants became extinct due to my actions :-)


Yeah let's get rid of candles because it might cause a fire, let's also sterilize our shoes before we walk outside because it might spread some unknown germ. Anyways straw men aside we have a handful of incidents that introducing captive bread populations can have a diverse impact on ecosystem. I can provide examples but not statistics, mostly because 1) The amount of people keeping large populations in captivity the reintroducing into the wild is minimal and 2) because the ones who do take a lot of precaution to not screw up.

http://www.projectse...s-into-the-wild

Here is a page from Project seahorse a conservationists group for preserving sea horses. Disease is clearly one thing they are concerned about and I bet none of them are Myrmecologists. Pretty much if you ask any conservation group in charge of releasing captive bread populations into the wild one of their main concerns besides behavioural issues and genetic diversity is the potential to introduce a pathogen.

For an example of something gone terribly wrong look no further then a fungus introduced to Mallorca frogs
https://www.scienced...80922122427.htm
Here is another example, this time regarding insects: http://www.xerces.or...chs_oct2015.pdf

Your anecdotal statement of just one Camponotus vagus colony is nice and all but doesn't negate my point or why we have these precautions in the first place. I think the concern expressed by most Myrmecologists here is that if releasing captive ants or any organism really is normalized then that one in a million chance of something devastating happening will increase.

Even then it's not just Myrmecologists and ants, any captive population risks introducing disease to a wild one. As for scientists and their own agenda, I'm pretty sure scientists have their own beliefs of how some things work, conflict in science is unavoidable but to say that everything they do aren't supported by facts (what facts? Is there a fact that diseases can't develop in one population and not the other?) is quite an overreach of logic. As for the 'arguing with rank as scientists' to push an agenda that is just another form of corruption, which is not unique to just scientists.
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#43 Offline MrILoveTheAnts - Posted September 23 2017 - 5:52 PM

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A friend of mine complains the spider out front his house seems to catch more queens than he does.

 

I don't think there's any harm in any one person collecting too many queens, but the methods used to search for certain species might be detrimental to the environment. Firstly if you're collecting every queen ant that shows up to a black light then you're doing it wrong. Maybe only 40% of them are mated with and of those only a fraction have removed their wings. These are the ones you should be collecting because there's some level of certainty in their success.

 

Without using a black light the only reliable method of collecting certain Camponotus species is to ripping the bark off of fallen logs. This method renders the log uninhabitable by any future queens for decades to come. Harsh storms will cause more trees to fall in time but a single anting trip can render these logs useless. On the few times that we've found colonies of Strumigenys and Proceratium in logs the nest was usually torn in half on accident while looking for Camponotus queens. Upon revisiting these logs I've never found a colony of either. The nonnative Vollenhovia emeryi seems immune to this.


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#44 Offline Barristan - Posted September 23 2017 - 8:16 PM

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Even then it's not just Myrmecologists and ants, any captive population risks introducing disease to a wild one. As for scientists and their own agenda, I'm pretty sure scientists have their own beliefs of how some things work, conflict in science is unavoidable but to say that everything they do aren't supported by facts (what facts? Is there a fact that diseases can't develop in one population and not the other?) is quite an overreach of logic. As for the 'arguing with rank as scientists' to push an agenda that is just another form of corruption, which is not unique to just scientists.


Almost everything is possible with a low probability. The question is how high is this probability? Is it so low that we don't have to worry at all? Is it so high that we have to be really worried? Of course there is a possibility that diseases are spread to wild ants I never said that there isn't.

Before being worried about ant keepers spreading diseases by releasing native ants myrmecologists should better be worry about all the plants which are planted in gardens, parks etc. every year which might not only spread diseases to other plants in the wild but could also contain other animals which live on the plants or in the soil like ants.

I'm quite sure all the people here who are so worried about releasing captive ants back to nature only have wild plants in their garden...

So provide statistics which show how high the probability. And if you can't don't expect that everybody to share your opinion on the danger of releasing native captive ants.

EDIT:

About the frogs on Mallorca:

  • It was a captive breeding program so quite large amounts of animals were released
  • The captive frogs got infected by non native frogs (from South Africa) which were housed in the same room. At least in the US ant keepers should quite rarely have non native ant species since it is illegal.
  • Scientists caused the whole mess not private keepers.
     

Edited by Barristan, September 23 2017 - 8:34 PM.

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#45 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted September 23 2017 - 8:38 PM

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I don't know who we think is funding biologists to study the effects of released ants by naive hobbyists, but I assure you that every single authoritative release program does extensive screening and monitoring to make sure that any ill or unfit ants are not put into the wild. This is something which hobbyist are unanimously unprepared to deal with, lacking the tools and training to have any hope at detecting an illness that isn't killing their ants in front of the keeper's bare eyes. If you want to have any idea what a release program actually looks like, check out the Formica rufibarbis conservation project in the UK: http://hymettus.org....tech report.pdf
 
Notice how important genetic testing is in determining whether ants should be used for release. Even if an ant is properly identified to have the same morphology as its namesake in another place, this does not mean that they are the same ant! Any phenotypic distinctions which weren't picked up by the somewhat archaeic Linneaen system in native German Camponotus vagus are put under serious threat when genetically distinct C. vagus are introduced, especially considering that the two populations most likely can mate. Flying blind and releasing southern Camponotus vagus with no concern could easily accelerate the extinction of German C. vagus.
 
And I mean come on people! Why is this aspect of ant-"keeping" so important to you? Do you really think that taking these risks is worth compensating for irresponsibility? This is a failure in ethics. Can you take care of Solenopsis invicta? No? Then don't capture it. If you find yourself with a species that is too difficult to care for, then find somebody who can take it in or destroy it humanely. I even understand that there are researchers studying brood-hunting ants that have come to us in the past, looking for help to sustain laboratory colonies. It's the ubiquitous lack of understanding of population genetics and epidemiology which prevents many of you from navigating this safely. No, I'm not aware of any studies detailing the risks or releasing captive Formicidae by hobbyists, because we biologists have not studied everything in the world yet! Sorry! In the meanwhile, can you please listen to people who are at least aware of the complications involved? Can you focus on fulfilling the responsibility to your pets? That would be a very respectable thing to do.

 

I'm not a myrmecologist, just somebody who knows a lot about ants for fun. I'm training as a geneticist, but I've spent the last few years out of school recovering from depression. I plan to return in the spring, which is why I'm going to be preparing for that instead of arguing about this BS.

 

Until then, continue to enjoy my proficiency and reliable identifications, but nothing which contradicts Mikey Bustos -- that all goes double for the actual myrmecologists.


Edited by Batspiderfish, September 23 2017 - 8:41 PM.

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If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

----

Black lives still matter.


#46 Offline Leo - Posted September 24 2017 - 12:39 AM

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Taking only bacteria into consideration, these organisms evolve very quickly and are even able to absorb plasmid DNA from unrelated bacteria via conjugation. Our homes are relatively exotic environments with the potential to introduce new flora to an animal or to alter the existing flora. Contact between native environments and nonnative environments should always be minimized. Just because nobody is observing the consequences of seemingly small human interferences such as these, does not mean we shouldn't take precautions against the fundamental mechanisms of disease. The least we can do is not release the pets we dedicated to caring for after we removed them from the wild.

Quick question but if there are bacteria in our homes which could be brought outside when we release ants, technically we are even bigger organisms and therefore can carry even more of those bacteria and spread it when we go anting.


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#47 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted September 24 2017 - 4:07 AM

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Taking only bacteria into consideration, these organisms evolve very quickly and are even able to absorb plasmid DNA from unrelated bacteria via conjugation. Our homes are relatively exotic environments with the potential to introduce new flora to an animal or to alter the existing flora. Contact between native environments and nonnative environments should always be minimized. Just because nobody is observing the consequences of seemingly small human interferences such as these, does not mean we shouldn't take precautions against the fundamental mechanisms of disease. The least we can do is not release the pets we dedicated to caring for after we removed them from the wild.

Quick question but if there are bacteria in our homes which could be brought outside when we release ants, technically we are even bigger organisms and therefore can carry even more of those bacteria and spread it when we go anting.

 

 

It has more to do with long-term exposure for the animal in sub-optimal living conditions than the sort of "patient zero" scenario we're used to seeing in movies. It is more or less safe, especially in terms of practicality, for us to enter and leave our homes as we please. Humans did not become susceptible to HIV by their very first contact with chimpanzee immunodeficiency virus, but it would take many, many exposures of close contact with blood through hunting before the chimpanzee virus was evolved to even be capable of persisting within humans, let alone cause disease in humans. Our very distant relation to ants aside, our bodies are ecosystems of their own, and most of the organisms which might infect ants have no chance at propagating to ant-infectious levels amongst our very aggressive skin flora.

 

It's worth noting, however, that environmental conditions can cause the organisms on our body to fall out of balance, which can cause disease. Staphylococcus aureus is a naturally occurring bacteria which inhabits our body, namely on the skin and in our gut and upper respiratory system . Combined with the rest of the flora in our bodily ecosystem, they normally contribute to our health by out-competing harmful organisms which aren't quite as adapted to living in our bodies. But they are still bacteria, not human cells, and given the opportunity  they will flourish to a degree which may cause problems. Those problems become very serious as they obtain resistance to antibiotics and transform into what we know as MRSA or Staph, which is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Bacterial conjugation makes it fairly easy for many species of bacteria to resist antibiotics and pass that trait to other bacteria, even other species of bacteria. Contact with disease-causing levels of MRSA may even dose enough of this bacteria onto another person for this condition to become infectious, even though that person was already covered in S. aureus. I bring this up just to illustrate that even the organisms which are already living on our bodies can cause problems to us if we experience prolonged, poor environmental conditions or if there is a factor which causes the flora competing with something like S. aureus to weaken. Like ourselves, ants are covered with comensual microorganisms.

 

Back to the ants, though -- the wild ants making forays into our homes are not being subject to the untidy and unsanitary conditions which the majority of us are putting our ants through. It may not be enough to stop a colony from growing (although it is enough of the time, especially with beginners) but our captive colonies are living far away from the vast teams of detrivores which take care to the garbage that wild colonies are always able to place a safe distance away from the nest. Our captive colonies have chronic exposure to the microorganisms in our house, layers of dust and dander, living directly adjacent to their garbage and dead, which they often depend on us to remove mechanically. It is not an ideal situation. Our ants are also given foods raised in similar conditions, foods which they may never have encountered in the wild. We don't know what sort of consequences this environment and this regular exposure to an alien ecosystem has on the ants.

 

Remember that just because a disease might not be killing the ants, it may be lowering their fitness to a point where they are unable to compete and survive in the wild. That would be a bad thing to befall on wild populations.

 

We are not saying that your home is a bomb of disease waiting to decimate all of your wild ants at the first exposure. We are saying that prolonged non-wild conditions come with a degree of risk that can easily be mitigated if we just take care of our pets for the rest of their lives. We also have to live with the fact that we don't have god eyes that can detect disease or genetic differences in ants just by looking at them. The advice put forward by myself and by myrmecologists is a precaution, and very easy to follow. As evidence of the general trend that animals raised in captivity present a very real risk of ecological harm after released continues to come forward, it is important for us to decide not to be ethically lazy in our hobby and to operate in a way which helps to protect the ants that we love. The very specific research regarding the effect of released ants by bumbling hobbyists does not yet exist, as even now we are only beginning to develop our understanding of disease in Formicidae, and we shouldn't wait for that research to do the right and sensible thing.


Edited by Batspiderfish, September 24 2017 - 5:19 AM.

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If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

----

Black lives still matter.


#48 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted September 24 2017 - 7:48 AM

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Have any of y'all ever heard of pesticides?



#49 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted September 24 2017 - 7:54 AM

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Have any of y'all ever heard of pesticides?

 

I agree that hobbyists shouldn't spread pesticides everywhere for no reason. They should attack anybody using pesticides. Do not feed your ants pesticides. Feed your ants pesticides.


If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

----

Black lives still matter.


#50 Offline Barristan - Posted September 24 2017 - 8:07 AM

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Have any of y'all ever heard of pesticides?

 

I agree that hobbyists shouldn't spread pesticides everywhere for no reason. They should attack anybody using pesticides. Do not feed your ants pesticides. Feed your ants pesticides.

 

 

Do you keep ants?



#51 Offline Batspiderfish - Posted September 24 2017 - 8:19 AM

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Do you keep ants?

 

I do keep ants. I like social parasites in particular. I love innocent questions like this.


If you've enjoyed using my expertise and identifications, please do not create undue ecological risk by releasing your ants. The environment which we keep our pet insects is alien and oftentimes unsanitary, so ensure that wild populations stay safe by giving your ants the best care you can manage for the rest of their lives, as we must do with any other pet.

 

Exotic ants are for those who think that vibrant diversity is something you need to pay money to see. It is illegal to transport live ants across state lines.

 

----

Black lives still matter.


#52 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted September 24 2017 - 8:26 AM

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What I meant by that is that I've heard people say things like lifting too many rocks can harm the ecosystem very much in that area, say a large field for example. And yet everyday massive fields are completely smothered in chemicals meant to kill nearly all insect life, but I haven't heard anything about that. You'r kind of focusing on the 10 and no the 90. Just let people do what they want to do.



#53 Offline Spamdy - Posted September 24 2017 - 8:40 AM

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What I meant by that is that I've heard people say things like lifting too many rocks can harm the ecosystem very much in that area, say a large field for example. And yet everyday massive fields are completely smothered in chemicals meant to kill nearly all insect life, but I haven't heard anything about that. You'r kind of focusing on the 10 and no the 90. Just let people do what they want to do.

There are enough pesticides, do you think that overhunting the already minimized population is the right thing to do?


All my colonies are dead.


#54 Offline Barristan - Posted September 24 2017 - 8:50 AM

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Do you keep ants?

 

I do keep ants. I like social parasites in particular. I love innocent questions like this.

 

 

So your ants could escape and could spread diseases wouldn't it be better for you to stop ant keeping if you are so concerned about the next ant apocalypse caused by not yet known diseases?


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#55 Offline Reacker - Posted September 24 2017 - 9:34 AM

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What I meant by that is that I've heard people say things like lifting too many rocks can harm the ecosystem very much in that area, say a large field for example. And yet everyday massive fields are completely smothered in chemicals meant to kill nearly all insect life, but I haven't heard anything about that. You'r kind of focusing on the 10 and no the 90. Just let people do what they want to do.

This is the most idiotic and shortsighted thing that I will read today. 

 

I hope. 


Edited by Reacker, September 24 2017 - 9:36 AM.

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#56 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted September 24 2017 - 9:36 AM

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What I meant by that is that I've heard people say things like lifting too many rocks can harm the ecosystem very much in that area, say a large field for example. And yet everyday massive fields are completely smothered in chemicals meant to kill nearly all insect life, but I haven't heard anything about that. You'r kind of focusing on the 10 and no the 90. Just let people do what they want to do.

This is the most idiotic and shortsighted thing that I will read today. 

 

I hope. 

 

How so? I thought that bringing up the fact that people are way to concerned about the 10% and not as concerned as they need to be about the 90% was a very insightful thing. I really did not say anything that you wouldn't agree with(I assume you care about pesticides, and unless you read it wrong, you would realize I do to), except that you should leave people alone about how they like to catch ants, and how to dispose of them. No one has, and no one will ever cause anything as bad as what we witness everyday as far as pesticides, land clearings... 


Edited by TennesseeAnts, September 24 2017 - 9:42 AM.

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#57 Offline Reacker - Posted September 24 2017 - 9:48 AM

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#58 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted September 24 2017 - 9:57 AM

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you are all getting pretty ridiculous, I can't even say that pesticides are a larger problem than ant keepers for the environment. I mean seriously, do you disagree with that!?



#59 Offline Reacker - Posted September 24 2017 - 9:59 AM

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#60 Offline TennesseeAnts - Posted September 24 2017 - 10:00 AM

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What I meant by that is that I've heard people say things like lifting too many rocks can harm the ecosystem very much in that area, say a large field for example. And yet everyday massive fields are completely smothered in chemicals meant to kill nearly all insect life, but I haven't heard anything about that. You'r kind of focusing on the 10 and no the 90. Just let people do what they want to do.

There are enough pesticides, do you think that overhunting the already minimized population is the right thing to do?

 

No, of course I don't.






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