Wrong ant, wrong name

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09:59 PM July 1st, 2013

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July 1st, 2013 09:59 PM

I would like to inform you that the front-page picture titled “Kiss of the red fire ant” (Inquirer, 6/26/13) contained erroneous information. The scientific name of the Red (Imported) Fire Ant is  Solenopsis  invicta  and not  S.  geminata. Both are non-native species and were introduced into the Philippines (specifically  S.  geminata). Thus far, there are only unconfirmed reports of Red Fire Ants as being present in the country. As far as we know, the specimens identified as  S.  invicta  are actually  S.  geminata, which are less aggressive than  S.  invicta.

In addition, the picture shown is not even that of a Red Fire Ant but that of an arboreal species known as  Oecophylla  smaragdina  or Leaf-Weaver Ant, which is a native species and is widespread in the Philippines. Red Fire Ants belong to the Sub-family  Myrmicinae  and Leaf-Weaver Ants belong to the Sub-family  Formicinae.

Here is a link of the recently published Synopsis of Philippine Ants (General and Alpert, 2012) for future reference on the subject: http://www.pensoft.net/journals/zookeys/issue/200/.

  —PERRY ARCHIVAL C. BUENAVENTE,

Entomology Section,

Zoology Division,

National Museum of the Philippines;

DAVID M. GENERAL,

research associate,

National Museum of the Philippines

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