Boieiro, M., Fagundes, A.I, Gouveia, C., Ramos, J.A. & Menezes, D. (2018) Small but fierce: invasive ants kill Barolo Shearwater(Puffinus lherminieri baroli) nestling in Cima islet (Porto Santo, Madeira Archipelago). AIRO - Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds, 25, 44-50.
Invasive vertebrate species are known to be a major cause of seabird nestling mortality in oceanic islands. On the other hand, avian nestling predation by invasive ants has seldom been recorded probably due to the confusion of the role of ants as predators or decomposers and the lack of specific studies on this subject. Here, we report the predation of a Barolo Shearwater nestling Puffinus lherminieri baroli by the invasive Argentine Ant Linepithema humile in Cima islet (Porto Santo, Madeira archipelago). Ants were found in very high abundance in this islet and the recorded attack started immediately as the nestling was hatching. Within a few hours the nestling was overwhelmed by the ants and was dead the next day. Our finding aims to call attention for an overlooked cause of seabird nestling mortality that may be important in areas heavily infested by invasive ants, particularly in island ecosystems.