Up Close with the Princesses, the Queen, the Drones, and the Workers of Weaver Ants

Up Close with the Princesses, the Queen, the Drones, and the Workers of Weaver Ants


Weaver ants. They weave. Therefore the name. Some call them green ants, but over here we call them Rangrang which means big red ants. We call them exactly what they look like. this example of a quintessential society is made of mainly female warriors, or the workers. There are also many regal queens and beautiful princesses. These princesses are
typically 20 to 25 millimeters long, very large compared to the workers that are
usually 5 to 10 millimeters long, they will eventually leave the colony to
start new colonies of their own, they have wings that aren’t fully developed
yet, so they can’t fly at the moment, but soon they will, with the drones, Nah, not the kind you wish for Christmas more like these guys. so on this first and
last nuptial flight a princess will mate with several drones of her choice, find a location for a nest, shed her wings and become a queen. Once she becomes a queen, she will stay
in the nest forever. As a queen she will be taken care of by thousands of workers, night and day and she’ll lay hundreds of eggs every day to ensure the survival and growth of the colony, including the next group of royalty. Some say only one queen can live in a colony with multiple nests, referred to as a monogyny, however in this specific Weaver ant colony of my backyard in a single nest I’ve found three Queens surprise, surprise, The whole colony is diligently served by the minor and major workers minor workers rarely venture out
of the nest, to explore, to forage, to expand are the tasks of major workers. Together they take care of everything, from challenging intruders to taking care of the wounded, tending the grubs, becoming bridges, living staples, building the nest and even organizing an expedition. All carried out without a
single command, instinctively. Some say they only eat small insects, well, then
these must be cases of trophy hunting! I think if you’re looking for an example
of the word amok, you can try getting a bit closer to their nest it all but guarantees a painful encounter. Strong mandibles ensure a painful
slicing bite and a spray of formic acid into the bite adds more pain to the injury. With such a painful, have I mentioned painful, defense, weaver ants are very effective in scaring intruders away and they’re used as a natural
biocontrol to keep pests from eating at tropical trees. They are also in fact the oldest example of bio-control that has been documented. Some studies have shown that having a colony on a tree can increase crop production by quite a bit. This colony in particular guards the
mango tree in my backyard and I’m really happy that they’re there

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

2 Comments

  1. Seraphine, Thank you for the close-up of your backyard neighbors. Fascinating critters with an amazing social structure.

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