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Far From A B-Rated Horror Movie, These Ants Might Actually Take Over The World

NOVEMBER 30, 2016  —  By Sarah Jewel  
Sarah Jewel

Sarah Jewel

Animal and pizza lover with an Internet addiction. Nerd to the max. Currently residing in the land of beautiful winters.

No one likes having ants in their house, and we do all sorts of things to prevent invasions.

According to scientists, however, our kitchen creepy crawlies may be the least of our ant-related worries. Lepisiota canescens, a species native to Ethiopia, is becoming invasive as its territory spreads.

Lepisiota canescens is now moving beyond its natural habitat in Ethiopia, taking over 1,500-year-old Orthodox churches in forests.

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Even more dangerously, they are moving outside of these forest oases into agricultural fields.

This species has also been observed forming supercolonies more than 24 miles long. Only 20 species worldwide exhibit this behavior.

Researchers warn that they could become invasive globally as more people visit Ethiopia and the bugs hide away in luggage.

The Daily Mail reports that Lepisiota canescens has been found in South Africa's Kruger National Park and another finding shut down Australia's Darwin Port for several days.

Scientists are hopeful that studying the ant species now will be helpful in case they do spread outside of Africa.

"Rarely do we know anything about the biology of a species BEFORE it becomes invasive," said D. Magdalena Sorger, a post-doctoral researcher with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

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I don't know how comforting that is to the rest of us. On the bright side, at least they're not giant ants. Yuck!


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