Friday, 16 September 2016

Insect Mini-Series: GIANT RED BULL ANT

Sometimes nest guarding was positively boring. He patrolled the area around the mound: turning this way and that, scuffing through the loose dirt and dry vegetation which disguised the nest entrance. Nothing. Nada. Not so much as a whiff of an intruder for him to ward off.


Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia
He wished he was a hunting ant instead of a guard ant. Whilst 20mm long was substantial for an ant – indeed Giant Red Bull Ants were one of the largest ant species in the world - he simply wasn’t large enough to hunt. At an impressive 25mm long, his fellow hunting ants surpassed him.

He itched for a bit of action to liven up his day.

There.

With his excellent vision, he spotted something approaching the nest. It didn’t occur to him that the intruder might be too big for him to take on.

Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia


A foraging Purple Swamphen searched the ground for snails and frogs, flicking its tail up and down as it walked. Fast and aggressive, the guard ant raced towards it. He raised his mandibles in readiness to attack with his highly developed sting. As the bird moved towards the nest he closed in.

Unfortunately the attacked swiftly became the attacker in a lighting strike that cost him a leg and mangled one of his antennae. He managed to retreat to the safety of the nest before the bird finished what he had started.



Moments later he emerged again. Injured or not, he was hard wired to guard his Queen. But the Purple Swamphen had moved on. He resumed his patrol and found that five legs worked almost as well as six.


This fiesty fella ran out onto the track I was walking on in the beautiful Jervis Bay National Park and tried to see me off. I took his photo instead.

I look forward to your comments - see you in a couple of weeks.





23 comments:

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    1. You have to admire the determination of an ant! :)

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  2. That is a beautiful bird. I'm not quite as fond of the ant.....

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    1. Australia is chock-full of beautiful birds, Kathleen - I couldn't get enough of them. :)

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  3. Another great story! You know, if you haven't, you should publish a short story series for Science Classes. Students would love it.

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    1. Thanks, Sandra - nice idea, but I'm not sure I could come up with enough insect stories to publish a series... maybe something very short for children would be possible. :)

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  4. Poor little chap! No win situation :)

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  5. Poor little chap! No win situation :)

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  6. Another very creative and enjoyable read Susan. Five legs almost as good as six! Well that is the power of positive thinking. 😊

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  7. Thanks, Sue. Glad you enjoyed this post. Yes - he seemed to be pretty active on his five legs... I didn't even know he was missing a leg until I examined my photos.

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  8. And then you retreated along with the purple swamp hen? Another great nature story.

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  9. He he - something like that, Liz. Glad you enjoyed the story. :)

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  10. Brave little ant! It also has a very interestingly shaped body. I remember from biology class at school that insects have a head, abdomen and thorax, but that ant seems to have decided to upgrade and add a few bonus body sections. :)

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    1. I never thought of it that way - but you're right, Bun - that's one segmented ant! :)

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  11. That's a great story Susan. Perhaps a short story series as Sandra said can be paying. You're very qualified for it based on your writings. I'm sure you'll find it fun! Your pics of both bird and ants are great. You may wish to see Yusuf Hashim's pics on his recent PhotoSafari trip to the Arctic Circle!

    http://imagery77.blogspot.my/2016/09/ive-got-antarctica-cruise-coming-up-in.html


    Hank

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    1. Hi Hank - thanks for dropping by again and glad you enjoyed the story. A book of short nature stories is something I'll bear in mind for the future. Thing is... I'm a bit busy writing a book about my years in Fiji right now! :)

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  12. You take such awesome pictures and then tell a wonderful story. A most fearsome and determined ant.

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  13. Thanks, Bish - delighted to know that you enjoyed this post. :)

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  14. Enthusiasm can be deadly! :D

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  15. This ant is yucky looking and probably does have a nasty sting.

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Thank you for your comment!