Native to the Neotropics, Wasmannia auropunctata has spread to numerous other tropical and subtropical areas, where it is can reach extremely high densities and threaten the local biota. To evaluate the worldwide spread of W. auropunctata, I compiled published and unpublished specimen records from > 1700 sites. I documented the earliest known W. auropunctata records for 53 geographic areas (countries, island groups, major West Indian islands, and US states), including many with no previously published records: Anguilla, Antigua, Barbuda, Caicos Islands, El Salvador, Guam, Montserrat, Nevis, St Kitts, St Martin, and Texas. In the New World, W. auropunctata has a seemingly continuous distribution from central Argentina to southernmost Texas, suggesting that it may be native throughout this expanse. Wasmannia auropunctata has also spread throughout the West Indies and to peninsular Florida, though it is unclear which West Indian islands may constitute part of its native range. The earliest Old World reports of W. auropunctata, in the 1890’s, came from West Africa: Sierra Leone and Gabon. Although no additional records have come from Sierra Leone, W. auropunctata has spread broadly across Gabon and into neighboring countries, where it is a serious pest. In Oceania, the earliest records of W. auropunctata date to 1972 from New Caledonia and 1974 from the Solomon Islands. Pacific populations of W. auropunctata are actively spreading within these islands and to many other island groups. In the past decade, first records of W. auropunctata have been reported from several Old World areas, including the Central African Republic, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Guam, Italy, and Israel. Wasmannia auropunctata appears to still have much potential for future spread in the Old World.
DonisthorpeH.1908. Additions to the wild fauna and flora of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: VII. Hymenoptera. Formicidae (ants). Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information Royal Botanic Gardens Kew1908:121–122.
FoucaudJ.OrivelJ.LoiseauA.DelabieJ.H.C.JourdanH.KonghouleuxD.VonshakM.TindoM.MercierJ.FresneauD.MikissaJ.McGlynnT.MikheyevA.S.OettlerJ. and EstoupA.2010. Worldwide invasion by the little fire ant: routes of introduction and eco-evolutionary pathways. Evolutionary Applications3:363–374.
MikheyevA.S.BressonS. and ConantP.. 2009. Single-queen introductions characterize regional and local invasions by the facultatively clonal little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata. Molecular Ecology18:2937–2944.
Ndoutoume-NdongA. and MikissaB.. 2007. Influence de la présence de la fourmi Wasmannia auropunctata (Roger 1863) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) sur les autres espèces de fourmis dans la réserve de la Lopé (centre du Gabon). Annales de la Société Entomologique de France43:155–158.
RidgellC.2011. Invasive “little fire ants” pose huge problem for Guam. Pacific News Center 11 November 2011 <http://www.pacificnewscenter.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18549:video-invasive-little-fire-ants-pose-huge-problem-for-guam&catid=45:guam-news&Itemid=156> retrieved on 22 October 2012.
TindoM.Mbenoun MasseP.S.KenneM.MonyR.OrivelJ.Doumtsop FotioA.Fotso KuateA.Djiéto-LordonC.FomenaA.EstoupA.DejeanA. and FoucaudJ.. 2011. Current distribution and population dynamics of the little fire ant supercolony in Cameroon. Insectes Sociaux59:175–182.
VonshakM.DayanT.Ionescu-HirshA.FreidbergA. and HefetzA.. 2010. The little fire ant Wasmannia auropunctata: a new invasive species in the Middle East and its impact on the local arthropod fauna. Biological Invasions12:1825–1837.
WaterhouseD.F.1997. The major invertebrate pests and weeds of agriculture and plantation forestry in the southern and western Pacific. Australian Centre for International Agricultural ResearchCanberra, Australia93 pp.
WeberN.A.1948. Studies on the fauna of Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire and the Venezuelan islands 14: Ants from the Leeward group and some other Caribbean localities. Natuurwetenschappelijke Studiekring voor Suriname en Curacao5:78–86.
ZolessiL.C. de de AbenanteY.P. and PhillippiM.E.. 1985. Insetos del Uruguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Lista ilustrada de los formicidos del Uruguay (2da. Parte). Actas de las Jornadas de Zoologia del Uruguay1985:19–20