Pseudoneoponera rufipes

Pseudoneoponera rufipes

     These are large strong stocky ants about 12-14 mm in size and are one of the few Pseudoneoponera species that have true queens. In young colonies the queens are difficult to differentiate from the workers, but in more mature colonies where they are well fed they will have an enlarged abdomen with a distinct broad red tip - as shown in the fourth photograph above.

     They usually form small colonies of between 50-80 individuals and their nests are quite basic consisting of a few chambers just below the surface of the ground.

     They are mostly nocturnal, foraging in leaf litter and around the base of plants, where they tend to shuffle around digging in the surface soil. They will eat almost anything they can find and are very fond of termites and small insects that live in the soil.

     A small number of male and female alates are produced in the rainy season. After mating the new queens seek out a suitable place to start a colony, which is usually under some wood or amongst the tangled roots of a tree. She will dig out a secure foundation chamber, but once her eggs hatch, she will frequently leave the chamber to forage.

     They have an unusual defense mechanism and when threatened will eject a long white thread of sticky web like substance. This acts as a chemical deterrent and also entangles and sticks to whatever is threatening them.

 

     Summary: They are easy to keep in captivity, quite happy in most types of artificial nest and will take a wide range of food.  

 

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