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In The News: Warren Featured on 'Inside Science'

In The News: Warren Featured on 'Inside Science'

Posted: January 22, 2019

Buffalo State’s Robert Warren, associate professor of biology, was featured in an article on titled “Fire Ants Know That in Unity There is Strength.”

The piece, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Joel Shurkin, details the work Warren and his team of researchers at Buffalo State have done looking into the myrmica rubra species of ants.

Warren conducted a study of the non-native, invasive ant species at the Tifft Nature Preserve. The myrmica rubra may have come to Western New York from ships traveling from Europe.

Unlike native ants, myrmica rubra form one united colony, as opposed to the warring colonies of native ants. They’re not adept at fighting or food gathering, Warren says in the article.

“Looking at food retrieval, the natives were dramatically better at retrieving food,” he said.

However, they overrun the areas where they take root. Where native ants fight among themselves for food and territory, myrmica rubra do not, yielding greater numbers of the ants.

For instance, Warren says in the piece, if an Alaskan wolf was dropped in the territory of Siberian wolves, it would be torn apart in minutes. However, if another colony of the same species was to move in, they would live in harmony. That’s how the myrmica rubra species operates.

Warren also revealed the risks involved with studying the ants.

As Shurkin lays out: “‘They changed my behavior,’ said Warren, who is more careful than he used to be to avoid stings.”

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