Oecophylla smaragdina (Weaver ants)

Oecophylla smaragdina (common names include weaver ant, green ant, green tree ant, and orange gaster) is a species of arboreal ant found in tropical Asia and Australia. These ants form colonies with multiple nests in trees, each nest being made of leaves stitched together using the silk produced by the ant larvae.  –Extracted from Wikipedia.

Weaver ants are abundant in Singapore, and South East Asia generally. In fact, they are so populus in Thailand that their brood is often being harvested as food for humans (and sometimes, pet birds).

In captivity, weaver ant colonies are fairly easy and fast to establish. Alate queens tend to fly at the hottest times of the year (June-July in Singapore). Newly mated queens quickly shed their wings and will lay eggs within hours. They can be placed in a small plastic container with a secure lid, and with a wall of wet cotton wool. Thereafter, eggs take less than 3 works to enclose into nantics (first workers).

The difficulty with captive conditions is getting the ants to accept insect feeders. In my experience, young colonies are often picky eaters, who often demand live prey rather than pre-killed insects. Another issue faced by most captivity colonies is housing – after founding, the ants require a certain degree of ventilation and humidity to thrive – the issue is that ventilation and humidity are often opposites!

Here are some pictures and footage in the growth and development of my weaver ant colony.

My colonies are fed newly molted mealworms and circkets, live. They are also housed in a money plant (Epipremnum aureum), which is fast growing and offers optimal humidity and ventilation for this species.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s