More Ant Antics

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Small Black Ant Lasius niger & Brown Soft Scale Coccus hesperidum

Here we have the Small Black Ant (Lasius niger) again. But what is he up to this time, you may wonder?

Small Black Ant Lasius niger & Brown Soft Scale Coccus hesperidum

I found him on my Fatsia Japonica with these strange yellow ‘bumps’ which are in fact another species of scale insect called Viburnum Cushion Scale (Lichtensia viburni). And you guessed it, he is eating sweet sugary poop again.

Small Black Ant Lasius niger & Brown Soft Scale Coccus hesperidum

The scale insect has piercing and sucking mouthparts which it uses to feed on sap obtained from the host plant (in this case Fatsia Japonica) which it secretes as waste called honeydew. Ants are attracted to the honeydew and feed on it. Ants will even act as body guards, protecting the scale insects from predatory attacks. This ant spent quite sometime with the scale insect, touching it with its antennae.

13 thoughts on “More Ant Antics

  1. Nice work, Pete. I think that Honeydew melons need a new name. 🙂

    As an aside and nothing to do with honeydew eating ants, I read an interesting statement from E.O. Wilson who is an ant expert. Male ants can fly and for all intents and purposes are just flying sperm missiles whose sole mission in life is to impregnate queens from other colonies. What a lot in life. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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