Animal Species:Spider Ant

Spider Ants are conspicuous ants when you see them, but they are rarely encountered in Sydney.

Standard Common Name

Spider Ant

Identification

At first glance, as their name suggests, Spider Ants look like spiders. This is because of their thin body, elongated head and long thin legs, and their habit of raising their lower abdomen and moving quickly when disturbed.

Size range

6 mm

Distribution

Spider Ants are found throughout Australia.

Habitat

Spider Ants live in urban areas, forests and woodlands, and heath. They are more often encountered in forest and mountainous areas with high rainfall.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Spider Ants usually nest at ground level in soil or dead wood and have relatively few members in their colonies compared with other ants. Spider Ants forage during the day and sometimes at night, collecting a wide range of both plant and animal material. The long thin legs enable Spider Ants to walk on the water surface. They are often the first ants to forage after rainfall.

As well as the usual workers that tend young, forage and guard the nest, Spider Ants also have workers with special adaptations for food storage. When food is scarce, these workers distribute a liquid that they store in their swollen abdomen to members of the colony.

Classification

Species:
erythrocephalus
Genus:
Leptomyrmex
Subfamily:
Dolichoderinae
Family:
Formicidae
Superfamily:
Vespoidea
Suborder:
Apocrita
Order:
Hymenoptera
Class:
Insecta
Subphylum:
Uniramia
Phylum:
Arthropoda
Kingdom:
Animalia

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Tags ants, insects, arthropods, invertebrates, identification, wildlife of sydney,

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