Invertebrate Iridomyrmex spp. (Meat Ants)

Hairyman

Ludwig Leichhardt
Archivist
Joined
Sep 13, 2011
Messages
4,032
Reaction score
225
Location
Ironbark, SEQ
Common Name:Meat Ants

Scientific Name:Iridomyrmex spp.

Other Names:Black or Red Meat Ant, Beef Ant

Order:Hymenoptera

Family:Formicidae

Distribution:Throuhgout Australia an S.E.Asia

Habitat:Varies depending on species.

Field Notes:Species photographed below is a large ant approximately 5mm long(worker).Redish black in colour.
Lives in a large colony, underground. A mound of escavated material (dirt and large sand grains)forms over nest.
It is an opportunistic feeder and eats both plant and animal material. Aggressive and territorial.
Lacks stings but will bite with strong jaws and has defensive secretions.

Uses: May be used to dispose of small dead animals and to clean soft tissue from skeletal specimens.
Used by mineral prospectors to sample local geology and zoologists to sample local small animals.

IMG_0290.jpg
IMG_0286.jpg
South Burnett Qld, Oct 2011
 
Last edited:

Aussie123

Never Alone In The Bush
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Messages
5,120
Reaction score
93
Location
Melbourne, Victoria
Zoologists like to check these mounds, there are said to be many small animal teeth scattered amongst the small pebbles on the nests. This helps to identify which species are in the area.

Similarly, geologists look to see what minerals have been bought up from below the surface sands. There is a (fanciful I think) story of a geologist who found a gold nugget which the ants had excavated from their tunnels !
 

Corin

Jiffy
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 5, 2011
Messages
3,438
Reaction score
195
Location
Picton NSW
Now here is one for you... and I don't know one species of ant from another so no doubt my mother is not proud, but anyhow...

There are ants in some areas where I walk that store whit quartz pebbles and small bits of charcoal from bushfires. On a cold day their mounds are black, with all white pebbles removed.... in summer there is no charcoal... just white pebbles.

It amazes me. Who tells them how to do that? Ants are cool. (or warm in winter?)
 

Hairyman

Ludwig Leichhardt
Archivist
Joined
Sep 13, 2011
Messages
4,032
Reaction score
225
Location
Ironbark, SEQ
They have been living in cities (and have been civilized) a lot longer than us.
 

Dusty Miller

Alexander Pearce
Archivist
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
235
Similarly, geologists look to see what minerals have been bought up from below the surface sands. There is a (fanciful I think) story of a geologist who found a gold nugget which the ants had excavated from their tunnels !
Perhaps it was a miner who got drunk to celebrate his find and passed out near a meat ant nest .
 

Dusty Miller

Alexander Pearce
Archivist
Joined
Sep 6, 2011
Messages
1,818
Reaction score
235
linearmeatantnest.jpg
Here is an unusual meat ant nest that follows the furrow in a field, usually the nests are oval, this one is linear, over 10 metres long. Might be good for cleaning bones on long snakes:)
 
Top