A Triplet Of New Queen Species

The last few days have been very eventful here in Victoria, Australia. The weather has started to warm up (barely) and the nuptial flights are increasing. 

We've seen more Monomorium sp. queens flying along with plenty of Rhytidoponera males looking for gamergates.

Other more exotic species are starting to fly also and we've managed to find ourselves three new species of queens.

The first of three is the unbelievable trap-jaw ant Odontomachus sp. Found in the Northern Territory by Simon Ferguson, this queen had already laid eggs in the test tube on the journey down south. We're looking forward to seeing this colony develop. 

Next up is the enormous Camponotus intrepidus queen. Sized at almost 20mm, this species of ant if huge. We recently photographed some workers who build large chimney like structures at the entrance to their nests. It'll be interesting to see if the workers replicate the same behaviour in captivity. 

Lastly is the Heteroponera cf imbellis queen that we found along with her small colony. These ants are quite small and not a lot is known of their behavior. It will be a challange to keep this species thriving in captivity.

We've been keeping our eyes open and hope to see flights of Iridomyrmex purpureus, and other Camponotus species.