Rare ant, first time on Texel island


Temnothorax albipennis, photo © 2017 California Academy of Sciences

This photo, by the California Academy of Sciences, shows a Temnothorax albipennis ant.

This species is rare in the Netherlands. It lives only in the west coast sand dunes, from Voorne to the Zwanenwater nature reserve.

Warden Erik van der Spek reports today that he found a Temnothorax albipennis ant in the Westerduinen sand dunes of Texel last summer. This is a first for the island, and also a first for anywhere north of Zwanenwater. It was a winged female.

Fijian ants as agriculturists


This video says about itself:

27 November 2016

Scientists on the island of Fiji have discovered a type of ant that plants, fertilizes & guards its own coffee crops. The ant, known as “Phildris nagasau” has been perfecting this practice for millions of years. The ants reportedly don’t just harvest the nectar from the plants, they also use the coffee plants as a place to live. According to the scientists, this is the first ant to build its own home. In an experiment, researchers discovered that the ants plant six different types of coffee plant in the bark of jungle trees.

From Nature:

Obligate plant farming by a specialized ant

Guillaume Chomicki & Susanne S. Renner

21 November 2016

Abstract

Many epiphytic plants have associated with ants to gain nutrients. Here, we report a novel type of ant–plant symbiosis in Fiji where one ant species actively and exclusively plants the seeds and fertilizes the seedlings of six species of Squamellaria (Rubiaceae). Comparison with related facultative ant plants suggests that such farming plays a key role in mutualism stability by mitigating the critical re-establishment step.

Rarely-seen event of ant brood parasitism by scuttle flies video-documented: here.

Blackbird uses ants against parasites


In this 17 November 2016 video, a blackbird uses ants and their formic acid against parasites.

Harry ten Veen in the Netherlands made this video.

Ants cooperating to get piece of bread into their nest


This 6 June 2016 video shows ants cooperating to get a (for ants) big piece of bread through the narrow entrance of their colony.

The video is by mmjiskoot in the Netherlands.

Mediterranean ants, new in the Netherlands


This 7 June 2016 video from the Netherlands shows a nest of Tapinoma nigerrimum ants; at 23 sec: milking of a coccid, at 1.09: male.

Translated from the Dutch entomologists of EIS Kenniscentrum Insecten:

30 May 2016 – In Wageningen a large colony has been found of Tapinoma nigerrimum ants, a species not previously seen in our country …

The colony of Tapinoma nigerrimum in Wageningen is located under a sidewalk and the adjacent walls of gardens. The species has all the characteristics which other invasive ants have. They are resistant to disruption and may thereby live close to humans, which may lead to towage to other areas.

In addition, there are a lot of egg-laying queens that can live together in a colony, and there is no aggression among workers who have descended from several queens. This enables them to achieve significant local densities, creating a super colony. The colony is found over a length of more than 120 meters!

Ants craft tiny sponges to dip into honey and carry it home: here.

How desert ants navigate walking backward, by Helen Thompson, 6:14pm, January 19, 2017: here.

Strong ant, video


This 26 April 2016 shows an ant, strong enough to transport a big prey.

MarijkeS from the Netherlands made this video.

Rare cornfield ants near Dutch Maastricht


This video from the USA is called Cornfield Ants, Lasius alienus, Social Behavior and Dispersal.

Translated from Stichting Bargerveen in the Netherlands:

Jan 28, 2016 – In the Netherlands cornfield ants are very rare inhabitants of calcareous grasslands. Last summer, the species was found by employees of Foundation Bargerveen on the Sint-Pietersberg [Mount Saint Peter; mountain near Maastricht]. Is the modification of vegetation by mowing and grazing here now bearing fruit?

Rare species

The cornfield ant (Lasius alienus) is a very rare species in South Limburg. Until 2004, the species was only known from the Bemelerberg hill. During research into the effects of grazing in the Popelmondedal valley, the southern slope of Mount St. Peter in Maastricht in 2015 by Stichting Bargerveen effects on ants were also examined. Great was the surprise when during the identifications of the catches this winter several cornfield ants were found. This species was totally absent in the intensive monitoring of the Popelmondedal in 2006 and except for an unconfirmed catch from 2012 this typical calcareous grassland species had never been previously reported from Mount St. Peter.