link to Home Page

icon Killing Crabs

Crazy Ants Killing Christmas Island Crabs
Discovery Communications, March 30, 1999

Killer ants on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean are decimating the island's world-renowned crab population. During the past 18 months, the ants have killed 3 million crabs by digging down into the crab's burrows, where they kill and eat them. The "crazy ants" - so called because of their frenetic movements - are attacking the crab population at a phenomenal rate, according to Monash University ecologist Dennis O'Dowd. "I've never seen a single invader have so much impact in such a short time," said O'Dowd, who is doing a long-term study of the crabs. The crazy ant, Anoplolepis gracilipes, is believed to have been introduced to the island by West African traders about 50 years ago.