Honey ants are filled with nectar, turning into living storage

(ORDO NEWS) — Honey ants have found a unique way to stay full when they don’t have enough food. They simply stuff a fifth of the colony with so much nectar that they turn into living jugs.

These cheerful ants hang from the ceiling like decorative lamps, ready to feed their ants when they need food.

This species of Camponotus inflatus ant lives in the dry regions of the western United States and Mexico, and the members of their colony are divided into several roles.

At the head of all this is the queen, who produces tiny eggs that will one day hatch and fill specific roles.

What do honey ants do?

One option for young honey ants is to become workers to help raise the young, keep the colony clean, and forage for food.

Then there are replets: a group of honey ants whose role is mainly determined by the size of their buttocks.

Honey ants are filled with nectar turning into living storage 2

Honey ants provide proteins and fats, but the desert is also rich in nectar-bearing plants. Eventually, sated insects’ bodies change shape as valves prevent nectar from entering their stomachs.

The dark spots you can see on their swollen bellies are plates that protect the bodies of normal sized honey ants, the rest is a membrane that expands to accommodate enough honey and the ants become the size of grapes.

Why do honey ants get so big?

Honey ants usually make up about one-fifth of a colony, so they have to store a lot of nectar in their “trunk” if they’re going to feed everyone.

When food is scarce and worker honey ants are in need of nourishment, satiated ants regurgitate their nectar reserves and drip into their hungry mouths.

When all goes well with foraging, the workers bring the nectar back into their living food stores to store it until it is needed.

Who eats honey ants?

The disadvantage of honey ants is that their nectar-filled abdomens are a rather juicy find for predators. Among them are badgers, whose sharp claws can bite into honey ant colonies and take them away

Other ants even plunder honey ant colonies and steal nectar-filled plantations.

The juicy nectar of honey ants is not only suitable for human consumption, but according to some people, it is the best honey. Humans have long enjoyed this species, sharing their habitat with honey ants.

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