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Your World Heritage...

Ants

Australia has roughly 4,000 species of ants and some of these are very distinctive - for example, the tree-nesting green ants seen throughout the Wet Tropics and northern Australia. Others are very tiny, making a nuisance of themselves once they get into homes. At the other end of the size spectrum are the aggressive bullants - a species two to three centimetres in length whose bite is not quickly forgotten.

 

Ant plants

There is even an ant species that has a symbiotic relationship (each provides something that benefits the other) with an epiphytic rare plant called an anthouse plant (Myrmecodia beccarii). The ant provides a physical defence against plant eating invaders and the plant provides housing and, possibly, food for the ant. A third species is also part of this symbiosis. The gorgeous Apollo jewel butterfly lays a single egg on the top of each anthouse plant. The ants carry the hatched larvae (a caterpillar) inside the plant where the larvae eats out chambers inside the plant, providing more space for the ants. The caterpillar also produces droppings which are nourishing for the ants while the ants protect the caterpillar from predators.

 

 

Green Ants

Green Ants (Oecophylla sp)are extremely common in far north Queensland and build large nests in trees by sticking the leaves at the end of branches together to create a sort of globular home. They clamber all over the tree containing their nest and serve to protect it from invaders. These ants are often found in fruit trees. When the unsuspecting person tries to help themselves to some tasty fruit to eat, the aggressive green ants drop down on them and start biting (not stinging). Their bite is not very painful but several ants attacking simultaneously can be rather uncomfortable because after biting they spray formic acid into the wound.

 

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News and Events

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News and Events

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New positions created at Wet Tropics Management Authority

New positions created at Wet Tropics Management Authority

A host of new and exciting roles have emerged within Wet Tropics Management Authority's Yellow Crazy Ants Eradication Program (YCAEP).... READ MORE

Forgotten plane crash site found in Wet Tropics

Forgotten plane crash site found in Wet Tropics

The search for a plane that crashed into far north Queensland rainforest 50 years ago has ended.... READ MORE

'Wild' Wet Tropics eco-sculptures get measured up

'Wild' Wet Tropics eco-sculptures get measured up

Talented young artists are fashioning the final casts, cuts and hews to their amazing artworks this week.... READ MORE