Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Crash course in Australia ants

Australian animals are pretty cool, so with the new Ant-Man movie in theatres I thought I'd spend a little time researching the castle builders underneath our feet. 

Green Ants

These ants are green (because Australians are good at naming things (Canadians are too, by the way)). I find these hilarious, because they'll often bite you (and it hurts), but you can actually eat them. (Note that I've certainly never done it, and I've never seen anyone eat one, but apparently you can. Don't try it, that's all I'm saying.) What kind of totally awesome food chain is that? 

Now for the information-y bit, which I got from here. They make nests by sticking the leaves at the end of a branch together to make a ball of leaves, which sounds weird but it's totally true. There's a couple at my school in the gardens. 


A (slightly blurry (it was windy, ok?)) green ants' nest. 

According to the website, "a mature colony of green tree ants can hold as many as 100,000 to 500,000 workers and may span as many as 12 trees and contain as many as 150 nests". So be friends with the ants. Like I said, they bite. 

Bulldog ants

Bulldog ants are only found in Australia. If I'm going to be honest, I didn't know these existed until I started looking up information for this post. These things are seriously scary. According to the info I got from here and here, they're an inch long and eat bees, nectar, plant juices and other ants, and have venom-laced stingers. They have great vision and have orange or red markings on their heads or abdomens. Apparently, if you attack one then the rest will come pouring out of their nest to go attack you. The coolest thing about these is that they don't have the typical ant colony;  the queen ant will attack another colony, kill their queen and take over. 

Carpenter ant

To assure you that not everything in Australia is out to kill you, I've included the carpenter, or sugar ant in my list. From what I've read here, these are also a big problem in Canada, so while they're not native to Australia, they do live here. They chew up wood and make it into compost, so they're actually pretty helpful, but they're considered a pest because they get into buildings and eat the wood, so, yeah. When their colony gets too big, they create satellite colonies and move back and forth from between the original one and the satellite one.

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I was going to put more pictures of the ants up, but I was looking through the pictures and got freaked out, so I didn't. Ants are weird looking creatures. 

Ants are a big problem in Australia, and you'll often see a line of ants going to your fruit bowl, especially if you go further up North. We've been lucky and we haven't had an ant problem where we live, thankfully. They can be pretty cool, though, so next time you step outside, look down. 

2 comments:

  1. Ooh, scary! The worst ants I've ever met over here are red ants, which everyone just dislikes because they bite you. Admittedly, I don't spend as much time romping around in sandboxes, either, so it's not as big a deal for me anymore. Still, I think the Bulldog ants sound the scariest! Venom-laced stingers just get to me, you know? Thanks for the interesting information, Victoria. :D

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  2. I haven't seen a red ant in a long time :) Hahaha, I don't spend much time outside, either, but I've been fascinated with Australian things since I've moved here (even if it sounds a little weird that I'd do a whole post on ants). Life is just so cool and I've never really appreciated it before I moved. And yes, bulldog ants are so darn cool. I love their killer queens :)

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