When we think of insects like ants, we all know that many of them do not fly and do not swim, but recently a discovery has been made that reveals that tropical fire ants traveled the world in the 16th century, although the news has its trick.
This class of ants is considered the first to have traveled the world by sea and there is even documentation that shows that it is the first case of global invasion by a species.
The means of transport used by these insects were Spanish galleons of the 16th century, which arrived and departed from the Mexican port of Acapulco. Thanks to these ships, where they stayed mainly in the warehouse area, They were able to expand to different parts of the world along with the merchandise carried by these powerful ships of the time.
This is the conclusion reached by a team of scientists from the University of Illinois, Chicago (United States). The team focused on the full genome analysis of this class of ants from 192 different locations around the world. The genetic diversity patterns of the ants were studied and compared with the trade routes established by the Spanish galleons in the 16th century and finally reached these conclusions.
Andrew Suárez, professor of Entomology and one of the coordinators of the work, stated that: “This class of ships, especially if they had the mission of going to a certain place to collect merchandise, would first fill the hold with ballast and then extract it in a new port and replace it with cargo.”.
“If we study well the existing records about the routes that a large number of these powerful Spanish ships had during history, in the oldest trade routes and also in genetics, there is the case of one of what could be considered as a of the first global invasions, which coincides in time with what could be the first world trade pattern of the Spanish”.
Also keep in mind that in the 16th century, Acapulco was one of the starting points of one of the main trade routes which led directly to Manila, in the Philippines, and from there to other corners of the world, which allowed the expansion of the tropical fire ant to different corners of our planet.
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