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Species of the month[edit]

Asian Weaver Ant[edit]

Oecophylla smaragdina

Oecophylla smaragdina

Some facts on this ant:

Length: 5 to 10mm.

Range: Southern India, southeast Asia, and Australia.

Habitat: Found in tropical forests.

Diet: Mainly small insects.

Colony size: More than half a million workers.

Conservation status: Not threatened.

First described: By the Danish entomologist Johan Christian Fabricius in 1775 as Camponotus smaragdinus. Placed in the genus Oecophylla by the English entomologist Frederick Smith in 1860.

Did you ever see thousands of weavers working together in the same place on the same product? If not, you didn't come across Oecophylla smaragdina. These ants build their nests by stitching living tree and shrub leaves together with silk produced by special glands in their larvae. Workers pull the leaves together in position while their comrades bring larvae and gently squeeze them to stimulate silk production. The silk binds the leaves into a nest which can contain up to dozens of leaves. This provides a well camouflaged shelter. Colonies can be extremely large consisting of more than a hundred of these nests spanning numerous trees. The weaver ants are highly territorial and workers aggressively defend their territories against intruders. The genus Oecophylla contains two extant species, the other one being the African Oecophylla longinoda. They belong to the family Formicidae or ants which has 12,500 described species.

(Archived from Template:Species of the week)