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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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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
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okie
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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: 928
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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