Weaver ants Oecophylla smaragdina are my new neighbours in the garden. One day I found a big weaver ants colony beside my house in Tuban, East Java. The ants ran up and down the trunk of a palm tree. The palm tree had no fruits or other interesting things for the ants. So far, one of the palm fronds connects to the Mango tree in the neighbourhood. But even though the tree has no Mangos because it’s not Mango season. However, the ants move straight into the Mango tree. What is for the ants so interesting there?
These weaver ants are also called Oecophylla smaragdina in science. They are a group of ants that inhabit Southeast Asia. A very special behaviour makes the ants so interesting. The ants bend leaves in trees and shrubs to build their nest. The leaves are glued with silk together. The ant’s larvae produce this silk glue. A population can become huge and distributed over several trees as on my tree.
Weaver ants are real masters in the construction of their nests. The amber bodies with the big black dotted eyes give a nice contrast to the green leaves in the background.
The ants have a length of around 1 cm with some variations of course. The colour is tending to be amber. However, the queen has an almost green body. Although I have seen ants with a mixed colour of green and amber. It’s a funny moment to watch these insects. The head of the ants has two big tongs which are easy to identify. Hard to believe that the bite can be really painful.
It’s really a challenge to take a picture of the little ants. They always moving and it seems they never take a rest. It’s not easy to get a shot in focus.