Black House Ants

Monday 08 July 2019

Canterbury Museum has acquired two specimens of the invasive black house ant (Ochetellus glaber), a species that only recently arrived in Christchurch.

Ochetellus glaber lateral view

An Ochetellus glaber or black house ant specimen. Canterbury Museum 2019.46.1

Museum Director Anthony Wright collected the specimens in 2018 from a population of ants that had been living in his garden shed since 2013.

The black house ant was first recorded in New Zealand in 1927 at Whangarei Falls, Northland. The species was most likely introduced to New Zealand from Australia by human dispersal.

Since October 2013, members of the public have recorded several observations of the black house ant in Christchurch on the science community site iNaturalist.

These specimens will be valuable for research on invasive ants. Documenting and collecting invasive species is important so we can learn about where they occur and monitor any impact they may have on our environment.

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