Graduate student Grace Barber got some amazing footage yesterday of a colony of slave-maker ants raiding another colony in Blueberry Hill.
Click here to watch the video.
Exerpt from “A Field Guide to the Ants of New England”
“Polyergus species commonly have been called Amazon ants in reference to the mythical ancient warrior women, but they are found neither in Amazonia nor anywhere else in the tropics. . . Polyergus species enslave workers of a wide variety of Formica species. . . These ‘hard-working’ ants neither rear their own brood nor feed themselves; rather they steal brood from the nests of their hosts, which mature in the Polyergus nest under the care of Formica workers already living there and doing all the usual work that keeps a colony of ants functioning. The only time hard work is done by Polyergus is when all of the dozens to hundreds of Polyergus workers in a single colony leave the nest on a highly concerted brood-pillaging excursion to a nearby host Formica nest.” -p. 214
“Colonies of the host greatly outnumber those of the parasite, and it is not commonly collected. Most often encountered on warm, dry summer days during its late afternoon sorties to acquire F. incerta brood (mostly pupae). When the slave-makers are not outside, nests may appear as unusually large, robust nests of the enslaved host, F. incerta.” -p. 216