Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Capture and retrieval of very large prey by workers of the African weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda (Latreille 1802).

Abstract

Numerous cases of capture and/or retrieval of very large prey by workers of the formicid Oecophylla longinoda observed in Cameroon, Nigeria and Zaire, are described. The remains of vertebrate prey found in the nests of O. longinoda in South Cameroon are also described. The retrieval of large prey was exclusively observed in workers of large, mature colonies of O. longinoda, occupying solitary trees or bushes or groups of trees. As a rule, large prey were transported whole. As demonstrated by field and laboratory tests, O. longinoda captured large insects most efficiently while hunting in the manner of army ants. The aralia on the feet of workers of O. longinoda are of crucial importance for the success of capture and transport of large prey. Previously, retrieval of vertebrate prey has been reported only in O. smaragdina. These observations provide an account of some of the most striking cases of individual and cooperative transport of large objects ever observed in ants.