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Archive for September, 2006

Ant nest pictures

These are some of the nest pictures I decided to upload before moving them from the system.

Crevices and barks of the tree are nesting sites for the arboreal ant Dilobocondyla bangalorica. Bangalore: India

Terrestrial nests of the Army Ant Leptogenys processionalis. Bangalore: India

Nest clearing activity by some seed harvesting ants, Pheidole sp. Bangalore: India

Acrobat Ants, Crematogaster sp, establish nesting sites in small holes and crevices in tree barks. Sydney: Australia


Nests of the Australian Bull Ant Myrmecia fulvipes are common in urban areas. Sydney: Australia


A small hole like nest entrance of Cerapachys singularis in the Australian deserts. Alice Springs: Australia.


Nests of the world’s most thermophilic ant Melophorus bagoti in the Australian deserts. Alice Springs: Australia.
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Myrmecina in Bangalore!

It is raining rare ants in Bangalore!!

It has been two days since I spotted Dilobocondyla and now here is yet another extremely rare Indian ant, Myrmecina. One individual of this particular species, M. urbanii, was caught during a sweep net collection in IISc campus and nowhere else in Bangalore. The only other report of this species has been from Kerala, in 1994. There are only two species belonging to this genus known from the Indian subcontinent. I am thrilled!!! The distinctly hooked like spines, along with the unusually large gaster left us gaping at this ant in the field. The habitat where we saw this ant was extremely disturbed, and is in principal a park, which is a huge lung space for Bangalore, Cubbon Park. Boy! are we on a roll.

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A rare ant genus Dilobocondyla was discovered (Sunil Kumar et al, 1997) in urban regions of Bangalore, its first records from the Indian subcontinent. The species then unidentified, has now been rediscovered and has been found to be new to science. It goes with the species name, ‘bangalorica’ in recognition of the locality, Bangalore, from where it has been found (Varghese, 2006). I had a rare first hand opportunity to watch these ants along with Sunil Kumar and Thresiamma Varghese. The ant measures less than 4 millimeters in length. The ants were never seen foraging on ground and as of now this species has been found to nest only on a particular tree species, Plumeria alba.

see more pictures of this new species here

Refs:
Sunil Kumar M, Srihari K T, Nair P, Varghese T and Gadagkar R. 1997. Ant species richness at selected localities of Bangalore. Insect Environment 3, 3-5.
Varghese T. 2006. A new species of ant genus Dilobocondyla (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) from India, with notes on its nesting behaviour. Oriental Insects 40, 23-32.

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An aphid sucking the sap out of a potted Marigold plant in Bangalore. Though several homopteran-tending ants walked all over the plant, none attended to the aphids. See more photos here.

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From Bangalore

Lots more traffic than usual, more greenery gone, lots of lakes on the verge of disappearing..urbanisation is rampant in Bangalore. And not surprisingly, the few ants that I see around are either invasive species such as the Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) or generalist species such as Golden Abdomen Ant (Camponotus sericeus [below]).

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