Archive for May, 2012

The inter-tidal ant, Polyrhachis sokolova swims using its first pair of legs similar to the way we use our arms. Pallarenda, Townsville, QLD

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The mudflat habitats of these ants in Townsville, Queensland, are possibly one of the only places on Earth where one finds ants, mudskippers and fiddler crabs foraging in the same location.

Workers of the inter-tidal ant Polyrhachis sokolova feed on a dead crab, Townsville, QLD

A male fiddler crab in the mudflats. Townsville, QLD

A mudskipper during high tides in the mudflats, Townsville, QLD

These ants of course love sea food, and dead crabs are much appreciated by them. However we found that in addition to the dead crabs they really dig the maggots found within the crabs.  On more than one occasion, individual workers dragged live maggots out of the dead crabs and took them home. This was the only occasion where ants carried live prey back home (I presume maggots can only be food for these ants).

A worker of the inter-tidal ant, Polyrhachis sokolva captures a live maggot found within a dead fiddler crab. Townsville, QLD

Workers of the inter-tidal ant, Polyrhachis sokolva capture a live maggot they found within a dead fiddler crab. Townsville, QLD

The mudskippers, though cute, were an annoyance a times. We had trained ants to a food source, which were delicious clams. Often the mudskippers were bold enough to skip and take over the clam, much to the ants (and our) surprise and dismay. The perplexed ants would be then left searching for their lost food source, whose location they were most certain until their neighbour came over.

Ant gallery gets an update with the inter-tidal ant, Polyrhachis sokolova. Go check it out.

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