The intriguing beauty of Myrmecia nests
Myrmecia ants are fairly unique when it comes to nest construction. In what appears to be an effort to either camouflage or insulate their nests they collect debris from their direct vicinity and spread it over the top of the nest. The result can be intriguing. In one of the photos above you can see a nest covered with what looks like black stones. Look closer and you'll find that they're actually black pieces of charcoal, the remnants of a large bushfire that swept through the area years before. Nearly all of the nests in the area are littered with the charcoal that the ants have collected. The surrounding area has lost most of its burnt history making these nest stand out even more.
As Myrmecia ants expand their nests underground they are constantly dumping the dirt on top of the nest. This aerated fertile soil will often become host to lush new growth at the start of the growing season. In the the photo above you can see a Myrmecia nest that has given rise to a lush patch of green grass in a field of dry sclerophyll forest.
In another photo you can see native grasses sprouting from the top of the mound the ants have created. Again the fertile soil the ants bring to the surface from within the nest harbours an abundance of new growth.
We'll be on the lookout for more beautiful Myrmecia nests.
In an unfortunate case of bad timing, a live TV interview in Australia has been interrupted by a mating swarm of ants during their nuptial flight.