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Australian Wildlife

  Green Tree Ant (Oecophylla smaragdina)





Green Tree Ant | Oecophylla smaragdina photo
Green Tree Ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) - Near Cape Tribulation - Queensland

Image by Didier B - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)

Green Tree Ant | Oecophylla smaragdina photo
Oecophylla smaragdina queen ant

Image by Sandilya Theuerkauf - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)

Green Tree Ant | Oecophylla smaragdina photo
Weaver ant nest on a mango tree.

Image by Premkudva - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)



GREEN TREE ANT FACTS

Identification
Green Tree Ants have a green abdomen and yellow-green thorax. They are also known as Weaver Ants as they weave leaves together to form their nest. They are aggressive ants and will inflict a painful bite and squirt formic acid from the tip of their abdomen - they do not sting, though. In some Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines the ants are sometimes eaten by humans.

Other Names
Weaver Ant

Size
length 5mm to 10mm

Habitat
forest

Food
They forage on vegetation as well as the ground, often moving in large numbers forming distinct trails. They feed on small animals they come across often taking prey much larger than themselves. They also feed on the sugary secretions from aphids, scale insects, and the caterpillars of some butterfly species, protecting these insects from predators and parasites.

Breeding
Green Tree Ants build nests by stitching living tree and shrub leaves together with silk produced by special glands in the larvae. The adult ants do not produce silk. Workers cooperate forming chains to pull the leaves together in position. Other ants bring larvae and gently squeeze them to stimulate silk production. The silk is used to bind the leaves together into the nest. The nest contains several or dozens of leaves providing a well camouflaged shelter. The nest expands as the colony grows and groups of ants leave to form nearby satellite colonies. Most colonies have more than one queen.

Range
The Green Tree Ant is found in northern Australia. It also occurs in South-east Asia and west to India.



Classification
Class:Insecta
Order:Hymenoptera
Family:Formicidae
Genus:Oecophylla
Species:smaragdina
Common Name:Green Tree Ant