sir knight (cambodianimp) wrote in wtf_nature,
sir knight
cambodianimp
wtf_nature

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honeypot ants

Basically, these little guys are ants fed lots of food by other ants so that they can serve as live larders for the colony. It...would suck a lot to step on them. *wince*

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"Honeypot ants, also called honey ants or repletes, are ants which are gorged with food by workers, to the point that their abdomens swell enormously, a condition called plerergate. Other ants then extract nourishment from them. They function essentially as living larders.

Many insects, notably honey bees and some wasps, collect and store liquid for use at a later date. However, these insects store their food within the their nest or in combs. Honey ants are unique in using their own bodies as living storage, but they have more function than just storing food. Some store liquids, body fat, and water from insect prey brought to them by worker ants.

These ants can live anywhere in the nest, but in the wild, they are found deep underground, literally imprisoned by their huge abdomens swelled to the size of grapes. So valued in times of little food and water, occasionally raiders from other colonies, knowing of these living storehouses will attempt to steal these ants because of their high nutritional value and water content.

The insects are edible and form an occasional part of the diet of various Australian Aboriginal peoples. Papunya, in Australia's Northern Territory is named after a honey ant creation story, or Dreaming, which belongs to the people there, such as the Warlpiri. The name of Western Desert Art Movement, Papunya Tula, means "honey ant dreaming".

Myrmecocystus nests are found in a variety of arid or semi-arid environments. Some species live in extremely hot deserts, others reside in transitional habitats, and still other species can be found in woodlands where it is somewhat cool but still very dry for a large part of the year." - totally ganked from wikipedia

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I didn't see this in the tags, but if I'm wrong, please tell me. :O
Tags: ants, wikipedia
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