Red imported fire ant predation on eggs of the eastern fence lizard

Jillian C. Newmana, Christopher J. Thawley, Tracy Lee Langkilde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Red imported fire ants were introduced to the United States in the early 1900s. These invasive ants can impact wildlife, attacking and envenomating some native species and outcompeting them for food. Eastern fence lizards (Sceloporus undulatus) have developed novel behaviours and morphologies that have allowed them to survive in the face of these venomous ants. However, we know nothing of the effect of fire ants on fence lizard eggs - a potentially important life history stage. We tested whether fire ants could penetrate fence lizard eggs in the field, examining intact eggs, and those that had been previously damaged and had yolk on the outside (which should attract fire ants). We found that fence lizard eggs are vulnerable to fire ants, even when intact. Further studies on the susceptibility of reptilian eggs to fire ant predation, and incorporation of these data into population models, could shed light on potential population-level impacts of this globally-important invader.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-418
Number of pages4
JournalHerpetology Notes
StatePublished - Jul 5 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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