Green Tree Ants

The green tree ant found in Northern Australia is a type of weaver ant found in many parts of the world. The Australian species (Oecophylla smaragdina) is commonly referred to as either a green tree ant or weaver ant. They are called weaver ants because they weave a nest together out of leaves.

In Australia they are only found in the Northern regions. They occur in forested areas both in Northern Western Australia and also in the Northern Territory and Queensland. In Queensland they spread down the coastal fringe as far south as Rockhampton, and can often be found in fruit orchards.

Weaver Ants build nests by joining leaves together with a sticky substance produced from their lavae. Many ants work together to construct these nests which can finish up being 300 - 500 mm long in a roughly oval shape. As they are made from the leaves of the tree in which the nest is, they are quite well camouflaged.

Tree ants aggressively defend their nests biting intruders. Acid from the tip of their abdomen causes pain and discomfort which generally drives off the invader.

The ant's body is a green or even a pale yellow, and its mandibles (Jaws) have 10+ teeth.

Green tree ants forage both for vegetation (eg nectar) and for invertebrates (insects), both on the ground and on vegetation. The ants also feed on excretions from aphids and scale insects.

The Queen Ant is located in one nest, but her eggs are distributed through the other nests of the colony.

Green Tree Ants have few preditors but jumping spiders, which look and smell like them, can invade the nests and eat the ants and the larvae.

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