US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY US DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) on a wooden stick. This ant species is native to South America but has been accidentally introduced to the United States. Fire ants are so-called owing to their aggressive behaviour and painful sting. When attacking, the ant uses powerful jaws to clamp onto the victim, enabling it to thrust its sting (modified ovipositor) and inject venom. The sting causes a painful rash and blisters in humans. The fire ant is considered a serious economic pest, attacking small animals and destroying seedling crops. They are very difficult to eradicate.
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