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Insect: Ant

Find, identify & discuss the insects of SANParks
okie
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Insect: Ant

Unread postby okie » Thu Aug 09, 2012 8:16 pm

Can anyone tell me what kind of ant this is ? They are huge , about 2 cm long , ( head , thorax and abdomen ) , and very aggressive :big_eyes:

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Tread softly , and let your departure not be spoiled by the damage of your arrival

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3 - 6 Sept 2013 - Punda.
7 - 10 Sept 2013 -Shingwedzi .
11 - 13 Sept 2013 - Balule .
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AFRICAT
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Re: What kind of ant is this ?

Unread postby AFRICAT » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:03 pm

I don't know where you found this, but it looks like Camponotus fulvopilosus, or a species in that genus. The workers are 10-18mm and the queens are 20mm. The species is very aggressive, and the majors can inflict a painful bite! Apparently, their sting contains a 45% solution of formic acid, and have a tendency to bite after running up your legs!

(I suppose that's from whence it's common name "Bal-byter")

They visit mealy bugs on bushes for the honeydew produced , prey on termites and other insects and collect bird droppings.

Most of this info. came from "Field Guide to Insects of South Africa"

Here's a similar looking one I took in the KTP, as they're found in arid savanna or woodland w/ sandy soil.

Image

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RosemaryH
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Re: What kind of ant is this ?

Unread postby RosemaryH » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:53 pm

:thumbs_up: agree AFRICAT and what an awesome shot! :)
Rose
Please read the green gate permit you will receive on entry to the park and stick to the rules.
Remember By Feeding Any Wildlife You Are Signing Their Death Warrant, As They Become Aggressive.

okie
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Posts: 1664
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 10:29 am
Location: Worcester , Cape

Re: What kind of ant is this ?

Unread postby okie » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:57 pm

Thank you Africat :thumbs_up: I found them here in Worcester . Not many around . They are aggressive , and the soldiers do run after you , and I can very well believe getting a painful sting/bite from those mandibles :evil:
These guys are however quite bigger than the " bal-byters " I knew as a youngster in the old Transvaal :doh:
Tread softly , and let your departure not be spoiled by the damage of your arrival

Next :
3 - 6 Sept 2013 - Punda.
7 - 10 Sept 2013 -Shingwedzi .
11 - 13 Sept 2013 - Balule .
14 - 17 Sept 2013 - Satara .

AFRICAT
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Posts: 930
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Location: USA

Re: What kind of ant is this ?

Unread postby AFRICAT » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:02 am

You're welcome okie. If you get a chance look at the picture in the Insect Guide mentioned. It looks almost identical to yours, complete w/ the bare areas on the abdomen. Also, you say it's 2 cm, and the guide says they are up to 20 mm (= 2 cm), so the size is w/in range. My photo may well be a different species or subspecies, just posted it as a member of the general family. You were very fortunate to find one of the larger specimens, and thanks for sharing.

Also, thanks Rosemary H for your confirmation and nice comment.


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