SEARCH THIS SITE

OzAnimals.com
Australian Wildlife

  Meat Ant (Iridomyrmex sp)





Meat Ant | Iridomyrmex sp photo
Meat ant feeding on honey

Image by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos - GNU Free Documentation License.    (view image details)

Meat Ant | Iridomyrmex sp photo
Meat ant qeen excavating hole

Image by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos - GNU Free Documentation License.    (view image details)



MEAT ANT FACTS

Identification
there are about 60 species of Iridomyrmex in Australia. They often build large nests underground with sand or gravel mounded around the entrances to the nest. Iridomyrmex species are often involved in mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationships with caterpillars. The caterpillars provide sugary fluid for the ants in return from protection from predators. Workers have strong jaws - they do not sting but can give a painful bite.

Other Names
Gravel Ant

Size
Workers are up to 1cm long.

Habitat
Sandy or gravel soils in urban areas, forests and woodlands.

Food
Most species of Iridomyrmex are scavengers. Some species also tend aphids and collect nectar.

Breeding
They live in a nest in the soil. The nest may contain hundreds or thousands of ants (sometimes over 100,000).

Range
Iridomyrmex are found from India east to China and south to Australia and New Caledonia.



Classification
Class:Insecta
Order:Hymenoptera
Family:Formicidae
Genus:Iridomyrmex
Species:sp
Common Name:Meat Ant