Oecophylla smaragdina (Fabricius, 1775), Cairns, QLD, 20 November 2014
Description: In order to check that the seeds we used in our earlier test on Technomyrmex were viable myrmecochores, we presented some Mimetes capitulatus seeds to Anoplolepis steingroeveri [small pugnacious ants] in the Silvermine reserve. Contact was instantaneous and the first ant at the scene [see pic one] started moving the seed at once. Both seeds were buried within five minutes, despite difficulties the ants had with the rather persistent styles on the seeds -- these are not a problem on other Mimetes so we wondered why this plant has them. The fatty elaiosomes running down the side of the seed are clearly visible. There are now two M capitulatus planted at Silvermine, but before we get horrified cries of 'Frankenflora!', the chances of this rare, high-altitude seepage-area species surviving in hot xeric Silvermine fynbos are zero. If they do appear after the next fire [due soon, by the way] they are right next to the road and we promise to uproot them.
The ants were busy with a dead grasshopper when we dropped the seeds. Within 30 secs or so the grasshopper was abandoned in favour of the seeds.
Got home to find that the Technomyrmex are still eating the elaiosomes off the seeds on the bathroom windowsill, and they have not moved them even 1 mm.
Dark reddish brown with darker gasters, 2 - 5 mm with minors, majors and infinite intermediates; slightly refractive hairs on gasters; very fast, highly active and aggressive; ground nesting
Tested two Mimetes capitulatus seeds on invasive white-footed ants [Technomyrmex albipes]. Their behaviour was the same as observed 30 years ago on Linepithema humile [Argentine ants]. After 12 hours they were still eating the elaiosomes off the seeds in situ, and making no attempt to remove the seeds to their nests. This obs is a 'first' for iSpot and confirms our fears that at least one other invasive ant species would disrupt myrmecochory and the successful regeneration of thousands of fynbos species if this ant successfully establishes itself in the veld.
Ants <2mm, shiny black with pale legs, feet and antennae; mandibles rufous; foul-smelling when crushed [subfamily Dolichoderinae or Smelly ants]; invasives probably from Indonesia and prefer nesting in old wood; at this stage only found in human dwellings and gardens as far as we know. The species is in dispute; some hold that it is T. pallipes, the pale-footed ant.
My observation of Leptogenys intermedia (Common razor-jaw ant) raiding a nest of Axinidris lignicola (Grandfather’s wood ant) at Grootvadersbosch has been queried because I posted drawings, not photos. Unfortunately I am no Alex Wild or Wynand Uys so please forgive the fuzzy photos. The main one shows the razor-jaw stinging the smaller ant; in the others they’re chasing them
An ant dragging a caterpillar back to its nest. Other ants joined in to "help" but sometimes they were pulling in opposite directions. I expect the caterpillar leaked badly by the time they were finished, lots of bites and looked like a saggy sack of something.
ants feasting on plant and transporting cuts
colony (entrance between green plant and ruler) and ant lion pit (up & to the right of center)
These ants and their aphids were under a rock, quite cold and not ready to wake up yet, when I rudely flipped it over. I hadn't realized before that ants will store an aphid colony underground.
Ben Coulter's best guess is that these may be L. claviger
Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae /fɔrˈmɪsɨdiː/ and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 out of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender...