Rare red-barbed ants back in Britain

This London Zoo video from England is called Amazing Insects: extremely rare red barbed ants.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare ants released onto Surrey common

Over 300 of Britain’s rarest ants are to get a brand new home when they are released back into the wild in Surrey.

September 2008. Up to 25 red-barbed ant queens and their attendant workers have been released onto Chobham Common in a bid to save one of the UK’s most endangered species from extinction.

Under the care of Surrey Wildlife Trust, Chobham Common will become a stronghold for the ant colonies which have been reared in a specially-designed quarantine facility at ZSL London Zoo.

Scilly Isles

Only surviving on the Isles of Scilly and in Surrey, the UK population of red-barbed ants has declined primarily due to a loss of habitat and the spread of the slave making ant, which steals their young and kills any workers that try to protect them.

Paul Pearce-Kelly, ZSL’s Senior Curator of Invertebrates, said: “It is wonderful to see that this project is now reaching the key reintroduction stage. We plan to rear new colonies of ants annually here at ZSL London Zoo for reintroduction into their natural Surrey rangeland.”

Red-barbed ants are an attractive species of invertebrate which are not harmful to human beings. Nests of this species are unobtrusive, and are located under the surface of the ground. Red-barbed ants are an important part of our heathland ecosystems, and they are an important food source for other heathland wildlife such as woodpeckers and sand lizards. The ants feed on honey dew (collected from aphids) and small invertebrates (such as caterpillars).

Honeypot ants (Camponotus inflatus): here.

Rare heathland protected as huge housing development denied permission: here.

Are you my mother? Kin recognition in the ant Formica fusca: here.

Honey ant queens share a throne: here.

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