Customs intercepts invasive harvester ants
About 300 live ants, known as harvester ants, or Messor barbarus, were recently seized by Shanghai Customs officers in a batch of imported parcels.
The ants were found in 300 small tubes with moist cotton and ventilation holes arriving from Southern Europe, according to customs.
The parcels containing the ants were declared as "Lego Toys."
Messor barbarus ants primarily live in countries such as Morocco and France. Their habits include eating and collecting plant seeds, and they are highly reproductive.
In recent years, some Chinese have kept ants as pets.
However, there are no wild Messor barbarus in the country, so the imported ants are alien invasive species that could break the local ecological balance.