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Posts Tagged ‘Formicidae’

Here is a cool Trap jaw ant, Orectognathus. These are Dacetine ants, known from Australia and Southeast Asia. They typically nest is soil. One of our recent visitors in the lab, Marc Seid, found and collected a colony of these ants with their brood and a queen from Murramarang National Park, NSW. Strangely enough, the workers did not feed on collembolans that I provided them, but only fed on maple syrup. With just this food source, the colony has survived over the last 2 months with no fatalities.

Update: More pictures of Orectognathus here.

Photo: 

Minor worker of Orectognathus species with its larvae, photographed in the lab.

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For the past few weeks I have been ardently trying to catch up on what’s known about ants segregating their niche temporally for foraging. Turns out that there are several studies that address temporal shifts in ants, mostly at the community level, and very few that actually address temporal foraging patterns. Interestingly, I learnt that two Camponotus species, C. socius and C. floridanus exploit the same honeydew sources with socius being diurnal and floridanus nocturnal. However heartening it was to learn this, its frustrating that there is no more information [ex: seasonal differences, variation in castes, facet count, competition] available about this observation from Central Florida, USA which is reported in 4 lines in The Ants [p-383], as ‘we made similar observations’. This more so, because temporal niche partitioning in foraging was recently shown in four species of Australian bull ants, Myrmecia species where all four species of ants rely on the same carbohydrate source (plant sap) produced by the same tree.

For what its worth, here are the two Camponotus species:
The diurnal Camponotus socius
Source [Mississippi Entomological Museum]

The nocturnal Camponotus floridanus 

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