nest building.

November 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

 

Weaver ants or Green ants (genus Oecophylla) pulling together young mango leaves to build a nest on my mango tree.

Weaver ants or Green ants (genus Oecophylla) pulling together young mango leaves to build a nest on my mango tree.

~Lightbox~

Mango trees are widely grown in south east Asia, and the weaver ants (also called green ants) are commonly found on them.

It is fascinating to see the ants build their nest. They pull and bend young mango leaves, and weave them together using larval silk. This photo shows single ants holding the leaves in position. They also form ‘chains’ to achieve this when the space between the leaves is too wide.

Once the leaves are held together, other worker ants retrieve larvae from existing nests and manipulate the larvae to excrete silk for the weaving. I have seen nests appear on my mango tree, especially when young leaves grow after the wintering months (November ~ February). The nest is usually completed within 24 hours. I was fortunate to catch this one in progress.

These ants don’t have stings, but their powerful jaws will give a painful bite. Wikipedia information on weaver ants.

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