Where's Wally?

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 12 June 2012 17:29

And when I say Wally, I really mean Formica fusca. You see, the majority of the ants in this photograph are the nationally scarce Slavemaking Ant Formica sanguinea. The Slavemaker looks a lot like the well known Wood Ant Formica rufa but can easily be told from them as they do not build huge towering nests. Formica fusca is much smaller and pretty much all black. I have seen them under ground, in the base of rotting stumps or, like this nest, under an old mat. It's amazing that this slave-making behaviour has evolved. The Slavemakers take the pupae of other ant species after a co-ordinated raid on their nests. The ants are then 'adopted' into the family and will apparently even willingly attack their own kind. Amazing stuff! These ones were seen at Stedham yesterday.

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