Original Article

Risiken und Gefahren zunehmenden internationalen Handels mit Ameisen zu Privat-Haltungszwecken (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Buschinger, A


Abstract: Risks and dangers of increasing international pet ant trade (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). – In Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, and UK), since a few years an ever increasing trade with living ants for keeping as pets by private persons is observed. Internet companies provide formicaries, accessories, and living ants of European origin, but also from overseas (South America, Indonesia, Australia). In this article I discuss various risks of this trade: (1) Escaping ants may establish as pest species, (2) may become invasive species, (3) carry diseases that switch over to indigenous species, (4) disrupt local faunas, and (5) even "intraspecific homogenization" of fauna may occur. The author suggests to urge the governments of all nations to ban the trade of living invertebrate species, in particular exotic ant species, for commercial and non-scientific purposes. Exceptional permits should only be granted when escape-proof keeping can be guaranteed.