Name: Weaver Ant (Oecohpylla smaragdina)
Other names: green ants
Scientific Classification and Taxonomy:
Description: Weaver ants or green ants (genus Oecophylla) are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae (order Hymenoptera). Weaver ants live in trees (they are obligately arboreal) and are known for their unique nest building behavior where workers construct nests by weaving together leaves using larval silk. Colonies can be extremely large consisting of more than a hundred nests spanning numerous trees and containing more than half a million workers. Like many other ant species, weaver ants prey on small insects and supplement their diet with carbohydrate-rich honeydew excreted by small insects (Hemiptera). Weaver ant workers exhibit a clear bimodal size distribution, with almost no overlap between the size of the minor and major workers. The major workers are approximately 8–10 mm (0.31–0.39 in) in length and the minors approximately half the length of the majors. Major workers forage, defend, maintain, and expand the colony whereas minor workers tend to stay within the nests where they care for the brood and 'milk' scale insects in or close to the nests. Weaver ants vary in color from reddish to yellowish brown dependent on the species. Oecophylla smaragdina found in Australia often have bright green gasters. Weaver ants are highly territorial and workers aggressively defend their territories against intruders. Because they prey on insects harmful to their host trees, weaver ants are sometime used by indigenous farmers, particularly in southeast Asia, as natural biocontrol agents against agricultural pests. Although weaver ants lack a functional sting they can inflict painful bites and often spray formic acid directly at the bite wound resulting in intense discomfort.
Distribution and Habitat: O. longinoda is distributed in the Afrotropics and O. smaragdina from India and Sri Lanka in southern Asia, through southeastern Asia to northern Australia and Melanesia. In Australia, Oecophylla smaragdina is found in the tropical coastal areas as far south as Broome in Western Australia and across the coastal tropics of the Northern Territory down to Yeppoon in Queensland.
Dymadex's blogs on bugs, including insects and arachnids. Insects are hexapod invertebrates like ants, beetles, bees, and flies. Arachnids are joint-legged invertebrates like spiders, scorpions, ticks, and harvestmen. Other organisms in this blog include centipede, millipede, and worms.
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