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Wood ant

Wood Ant - WWC Archives

The Northern Wood Ant (Formica aquilonia) is a very sociable insect, building nests in large groups to form communities.

Each community has its own hunting territory, which it guards fiercely against intruders. A dome is built from leaves and twigs and may include pine needles over the nest to protect it. Within, a network of tunnels hold up to 300,000 worker ants who spend most of their time searching for food. They hunt for insects such as caterpillars and they subdue them by spraying them with formic acid secreted from a gland in the abdomen. The prey is then taken back to the nest and some food is regurgitated to feed the larvae. After mating, the queen begins to lay her eggs using her old nest. The workers then move the eggs to the warmest part of the nest to aid their survival. After a period of time, in which the workers have feed the larvae, they make a cocoon and they emerge as ants.

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Size: 7-11mm

Description: Blackish gaster ('abdomen') with dull red on the head, thorax and legs.

Habitat: Woodlands


Similar Species: Southern Wood Ant Formica rufa, Hairy Wood Ant F.lugubris, Slave-making Ant F.sanguinea

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