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  • Killing of animals

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    The killing of animals is animal euthanasia (for pain relief), animal sacrifice (for a deity), animal slaughter (for food), hunting (for food, for sport, for fur and other animal products, etc.), blood sports, or roadkill (by accident).

  • Red imported fire ant

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    The red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), also known as the fire ant or RIFA, is a species of ant native to South America. A member of the genus Solenopsis in the subfamily Myrmicinae, it was described by Swiss entomologist Felix Santschi as a variant in 1916. Its current name invicta was given to the ant in 1972 as a separate species. However, the variant and species were the same ant, and the name was preserved due to its wide use. Though South American in origin, the red imported fire ant has been accidentally introduced in Australia, New Zealand, several Asian and Caribbean countries, and the United States. The red imported fire ant is polymorphic as workers appear in different shapes and sizes. The ant's colours are red and somewhat yellowish with a brown or black gaster. However, males are completely black. Red imported fire ants are dominant in altered areas and live in a wide variety of habitats. They can be found in rain forests, in disturbed areas, deserts, grasslands, alongside roads and buildings, and in electrical equipment. Colonies form large mounds constructed from dirt with no visible entrances because foraging tunnels are built and workers emerge far away from the nest. These ants exhibit a wide variety of behaviours, such as building rafts when they sense that water levels are rising. They also show necrophoric behaviour, where nestmates discard scraps or dead ants on refuse piles outside the nest. Foraging takes place on warm or hot days, although they may remain outside at night. Workers communicate by a series of semiochemicals and pheromones which are used for recruitment, foraging, and defence. They are omnivores and eat dead mammals, arthropods, insects, seeds, and sweet substances such as honeydew from hemipteran insects with whom they have developed symbiotic relationships. Predators include arachnids, birds and many insects including other ants, dragonflies, earwigs, and beetles. The ant is a host to parasites and to a number of pathogens, nematodes, and viruses which have been viewed as potential biological control agents. Nuptial flight occurs during the warm seasons, and the alates may mate for as long as 30 minutes. Colony founding can be done via a single queen or a group of queens, who will later contest for dominance once the first workers emerge. Workers can live for several months while queens can live for years; colony numbers can vary from 100,000 to 250,000 individuals. Two forms of society in the red imported fire ant exist: polygynous colonies (nests with multiple queens) and monogynous colonies (nests with one queen). Venom plays an important role in the ant's life as it is used to capture prey or for defence. About 95% of the venom's components are water-insoluble piperidine alkaloids, and it is particularly potent on sensitive humans. More than 14 million people are stung by them in the United States annually, where many are expected to develop allergies to the venom. Most victims experience intense burning and swelling, followed by the formation of sterile pustules, which may remain for several days. However 0.6% to 6.0% of people may suffer from anaphylaxis, which can be fatal if left untreated. Common symptoms include dizziness, chest pain, nausea, severe sweating, low blood pressure, loss of breath, and slurred speech. More than 80 deaths have been recorded from red imported fire ant attacks. Treatment depends on the symptoms; those who only experience pain and pustule formation require no medical attention, but those who suffer from anaphylaxis are given epinephrines. Whole body extract immunotherapy is used to treat victims and is regarded as highly effective. The ant is viewed as a notorious pest, causing billions of dollars in damages annually and impacting wildlife. The ants thrive in urban areas, so their presence may deter outdoor activities. Nests can be built under structures such as pavements and foundations, which may cause structural problems, or cause them to collapse. Not only can they damage or destroy structures, but red imported fire ants can also damage equipment and infrastructure and impact business, land, and property values. As workers are attracted to electricity, they can swarm electrical equipment and destroy it. In agriculture, they can damage crops, damage machinery, and threaten pastures. They are known to invade a wide variety of crops, and mounds built on farmland may prevent harvesting. They also pose a threat to animals and livestock, capable of inflicting serious injury or killing them, especially weak or sick animals. Despite this, they may be beneficial because they consume common pest insects on crops. Common methods of controlling these ants include baiting and fumigation; other methods may be ineffective or dangerous. Due to its notoriety and importance, the ant has become one of the most studied insects on the planet, even rivalling the western honey bee (Apis mellifera).

  • Ant

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    Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the Cretaceous period, about 140 million years ago, and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and the distinctive node-like structure that forms their slender waists. Ants form colonies that range in size from a few dozen predatory individuals living in small natural cavities to highly organised colonies that may occupy large territories and consist of millions of individuals. Larger colonies consist of various castes of sterile, wingless females, most of which are workers (ergates), as well as soldiers (dinergates) and other specialised groups. Nearly all ant colonies also have some fertile males called "drones" (aner) and one or more fertile females called "queens" (gynes). The colonies are described as superorganisms because the ants appear to operate as a unified entity, collectively working together to support the colony.

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