Who moved my ants? Species confusion sinks paper on invasive species

Image via Wikimedia

“How many and which ant species are being accidentally moved around the world?,” published in 2013, has been retracted because the authors “used a wrong list of species and omitted to include a reference.”

The authors claim that this affected the magnitude of the issue, but not the overall conclusion.

The paper was written up by the press several times, including by the BBC, though according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge, it hasn’t been cited.

Here is the notice:

Herewith, we retract our paper ‘How many and which ant species are being accidentally moved around the world?’ by Verónica Miravete et al., published online on 23 October 2013 (Biol. Lett.9, 20130540;doi:10.1098/rsbl.2013.0540). After careful examination of the original data on introduced and established ants on regions worldwide, we realized that we used a wrong list of species and omitted to include a reference (Sarnat E. (2012)North America checklist. Antkey <http://antkey.org>. Extracted 3 June 2014) in the paper. Although the main arguments and conclusions remain the same after correcting these errors, the use of the wrong version of the data affected the magnitude of the analyses conducted at the country level (in the electronic supplementary material) and, to a lesser extent, when all countries were considered together (in the main text). Therefore, we wish to retract the article. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience this publication might have caused to the readers of Biology Letters.

We’ve contacted the authors, and will report back with anything we learn.

Hat tip: Rolf Degen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *