Common Name: Weaver Ant
Scientific Name: Oecophylla smaragdina

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthopoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicadae
Genus: Oecophylla
Species:O. smaragdina

 

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Did you know the Weaver Ant’s formic acid is used to fight infection?  The weaver ant is very small is a dirty orange color.  They live in Southeast Asia and Australia.  I chose to write this essay because I enjoy learning new information.

The Weaver Ant has an orange-brown body with a green gaster or abdomen.  Worker ants range in size from 5 mm to 10 mm or about 1/3 to 2/5 inches long.  The queen ant is about 12 mm to 14 mm or about 1/2 inch long.  They have mandibles that can inflict quite a painful bite!  They walk on three pair of long legs that have six joints to move quickly and efficiently.

This particular ant is found in Australia, Northeastern India, Southeast Asia, and the Philippines.  Areas with lots of rainfall and high humidity are where they are usually found.  They live in live trees and are known for their great nest building.  There are thousands of colonies each containing up to a million ants and up to five queens.  Their large population is slowly shrinking due to humans cutting into their living environment.

The Weaver Ant will eat small organisms such as spiders and grasshoppers.  They have quite the “sweet tooth” and therefore eat mostly nectar.  Indonesians have figured out that this “sweet tooth” makes their tissue very sugary and tart, making them a food staple in Indonesian culture.  The caterpillar is another one of their predators.  They also take advantage of the Weaver Ants “sweet tooth” and lure them in with a sugary residue.

To wrap it all up, the weaver ant is a dirty orange color. They live in areas with a high humidity and are known for their intricate nest building.  They eat mostly nectar which makes them tasty to some people and predators to eat. Their formic acid can be used to fight infection and their bites are painful. Who would have known there would be so much to know about this tiny creature?

Author: Kristin S.
Published: 02/13

Sources: http://www.naturia.per.sg/buloh/inverts/weaver_ants.htm, Ria Tan, 2001, used Jan. 27, 2012; http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2011/05/weaver-ants/chadwick-text, Douglas Chadwick, 2012, used Jan. 27 2012; http://www.antark.net/ant-species/weaver-ant-oecophylla-smaragdina.html, used Feb. 2 2012; The World Book encyclopedia, 2002, used, Jan. 30 2012
Photo Credit: http://rhamphotheca.tumblr.com/post/4755502302/insectlove-animalworld-weaver-ants-or-green-ants, Paxon