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Millions of aggressive ants are invading Texas, blinding animals by spitting acid in their faces

MILLIONS of invasive ants have reportedly spat acid at animals as an act of self-defense, blinding some of them.

Tawny crazy ants, officially called Nylanderia fulva, are native to South America but have recently been seen as far south as Texas.

The ants have the ability to blind animals by spitting acid at them

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The ants have the ability to blind animals by spitting acid at themPhoto credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife

These ants have lived in the US for two decades. They were first spotted in Houston in 2002 news week.

Since then, scientists like Edward LeBrun have studied the ants, trying to find a way to eradicate the invasive population.

In some parts of Texas, one scientist described the swarms of ants as “apocalyptic,” with “ant rivers” running up and down every tree in the area.

These ants have the ability to seriously disturb wild populations, especially native species.

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In 2016, park officials noted the absence of snakes, scorpions, and lizards at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco.

The ants blinded baby rabbits while they were still in their burrows.

Lebrun told Newsweek: “Rabbits are born in burrows underground and I assume those burrows are very hospitable to crazy ants.

“In these environments, when tawny mad ants are in high density, every suitable nest site is occupied, so I assume the mad ants move in and the rabbits just swarm around. They spray acid when they fight.”

The ants introduced a deadly pathogen officially named Myrmecomorba nylanderiae to the native wildlife. Lebrun’s team has been following him for over nine years.

They found that this pathogen could lead to population decline and possible extinction within four to seven years, according to the article.

The group of scientists artificially introduced the pathogen into the ants to ward them off.

So far they have been able to get rid of two populations of the invasive species.

“It doesn’t mean that crazy ants will go away. It’s impossible to predict how long it will be before lightning strikes and the pathogen infects some crazy ant population. But it’s a huge relief because it means these populations appear to have lifespans,” LeBrun told Newsweek.

The ants have the ability to blind animals by spitting acid at them

2

The ants have the ability to blind animals by spitting acid at themPhoto credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife

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https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/18105604/ant-apocalypse-invade-texas-spitting-acid/ Millions of aggressive ants are invading Texas, blinding animals by spitting acid in their faces

Bobby Allyn

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