Weaver Ant (Oecophylla smaragdina)
Indonesia by the entomologist, Johan Christian Fabricius
Oecophylla smaragdina is an arboreal ant species commonly found building nest among tree branches/ leaves weaved using silk produced by their larva. Oecophylla smaragdina hunts in group and their power is measured collectively. Some colonies are capable to even take down small songbird. Individual ant is weak but is also elusive due to its eyesight capabilities. This ant species forms worker and soldier castes. Workers are smaller members that tend the nest whereas soldiers are larger and often seen scouting outside the nest and hunting for foods. These ants occasionally bite and secrete formic acid from its abdomen to defend themselves. However, they do not sting the way bees or wasps do.
This Weaver Ant specie is very fascinating. They actually can see with their eyes and are very smart. When in a colony, and one is picket up gently, others will try to climb onto the intruder and find the softest place to bite! O. Smaragdina have a very strong grip but are willing to let go after a bite. When placed in a large enclosure and trying to approach a group, they all move as one as to avoid you. They are very greedy, if a large drop of honey is provided, they will jump right in the middle of it, eventually drowning.
In nature, O. smaragdina build their nests in the trees. Each nest consists of a few queens. When expanding the nest, the workers will put leafs on certain areas of the nest which are strengthened by larvae from inner side of the leaf with web. Only the larvae can produce this web, hence the name Weaver Ant.
Worker size: 5 to 10mm long.
Queen size: 17mm long.