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Odontomachus monticola

Odontomachus monticola

    These are slender ants that are dark brown-black in color and about 8-9 mm in length. 

    Colonies are not large and usually consist of 200-300 hundred individuals. They will excavate small nests in the ground, but when available prefer to make use of ready-made cavities in pieces of old wood or dead bamboo stems.

    The queens are easily distinguished from the workers being larger at about 12 mm and having an enlarged thorax and larger abdomen.

    In their natural habitat, they mostly forage at night but can also be seen outside on dull overcast days or in areas that are heavily shaded. They do not climb but forage at ground level, although they will explore along fallen branches.

    When undisturbed their movements are calm and deliberate and they slowly walk around with their mandibles set in 'trap position' probing with their long antennae. However, when their nest is disturbed they can move quickly and defend it by latching onto the intruder and delivering a very painful sting.

    They can be kept in captivity relatively easily and take to most artificial nests. They readily take both dead and live insects and sugared water. A favorite food is small newly hatched crickets that are put into their enclosure alive - and will be found in the ant’s brood chamber the next morning.


    Summary: Because of their unusual hunting method this is a fascinating species to keep and responds well to captivity - but you should avoid handling the ants as they have a painful sting.


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