Common name: 'The Orange Weaver Ant.'
This is a well known species that constructs its nests amongst leaves that are held together by strands of silk extruded by its larvae.
The workers are quite variable with the smaller workers only measuring 3-4 mm these take care of the brood and queen. In time the colony produces larger major workers / soldiers which do the hunting and defend the colony these can be 10-12mm in size and are armed with powerful mandibles. They are an attractive orange colour which serves as a warning to predators that they are dangerous.
The early nests are often only a single folded leaf but colonies increase in size quickly and within a few months they will be using two or three leaves then within a year have a nest the size of a clenched fist. From this stage onwards they expand very quickly.
Mature colonies can have 500,000 workers and several dozen large nests scattered amongst several interconnecting trees. These are aggressive strong ants and will vigorously attack anything they find within their territory.
There favourite food seems to be insect secretions but they vigorously hunt insects and larger colonies will frequently forage across the ground near the base of the trees.
The easiest method to keep them is in a large plant stood in a bowl of water to stop them escaping. However this does limit what can be seen within the nest and success has been achieved by keeping them in glass containers / test tubes hung in plants.
We have just one new queen available. She has two workers now and brood.