Honey pot ant Myrmecocystus mexicanus

Honey Pot Ant

Myrmecocystus mexicanus

World distribution map Myrmecocystus mexicanus Honey pot ant

Scientific names

Myrmecocystus sp, Melophorus sp, Leptomyrmex sp, Camponotus inflatus, Plagiolepsis trimineni.

 

Distribution

Found in Western America, Mexico, Australia, South Africa and New Guinea.

 

Habitat

They are normally found in the hot dry areas such as the edges of deserts.

 

Diet

These ants mostly gorge on desert flowers for the sugary nectar during the rainy seasons. They will also eat small insects.

 

Introduction

There are around 34 different species of honey pot ants. They all share the ability to store large amounts of nutritious liquid in the larger workers 'repletes'.

 

During the rainy seasons the repletes are fed so much that they swell up and become living underground refrigerators, some can become so large that it’s impossible to leave their nest. The food is stored for the whole colony and is used during the dry seasons when food is not so plentiful.

 

These ants hold so many nutrients and energy that they have become a favoured food for many other animals including humans.

 

Some Myrmecocystus species have been known to attack other colonies of the same species, kill their queen and take the workers as their slaves!

 

A few honey pot ant species are known to change colours such as green, orange, red, blue and yellow.

 

These fantastic ants can be seen in zoos around the world.

more...

 

Queen

Honey pot queens are mostly monogyn (one queen per colony). One Myrmecocystus sp queen has been reported to have lived for 11 years. She can lay up to 1,500 eggs per day.


Workers

The workers range in size and colour, especially the repletes when they have been filled with nutritious liquid, they look like walking grapes.

 

 

Risk level 1

No known risks in their natural habitats.

 

Pet level 3

Risk declarations must be completed if this species is housed outside of its country of origin.


Honey pot ants require constant high desert like temperatures. They also require a deep, predefined habitat so that the repletes have space to hang from the ceilings.