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Tetraponera punctulata ants gang up on a moth caterpillar. Ants are major predators of other insects.(image from http://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Find+out+about/Animals+of+Queensland/Insects/Ants)
In Australia alone there may be more than 3000 different species of ants, but so far only around 1300 have been scientifically named.
No one can live in Australia, without having personal contact with Ants. Australia is currently known to have representatives of 10 subfamilies, 101 genera and 1275 described species and subspecies.
The ant fauna of Australia is especially large and diverse. World-wide, there are 16 subfamilies, about 300 genera and about 15,000 described species and subspecies of ants.
Australia has many ants! According to the CSIIRO, Australia has:
While many Australian ants are found everywhere, others are among the rarest invertebrates in Australia. Numerous species have been encountered fewer than 10 times, and several are known from only one or two specimens
Generic Ant Diversity in Australia (image supplied from http://anic.ento.csiro.au/ants/distribution_patterns.aspx)
The common species include:
Coastal Brown Ant , Pheidole megacephala
Southern Meat Ant , Iridomyrmex purpureus
Bull and Jumper Ants , Mymecia spp.
Green-head Ant , Rhytidoponera metallica
Sugar Ants , Camponotus spp.
Green Tree Ant , Oecophylla smaragdina
Spiny Ants , Polyrhachis spp.
Next Time, we will identify all these common species found in Brisbane, Queensland.
CSIRO, 2013. Ants Down Under, viewed 14 May 2013, <http://anic.ento.csiro.au/ants>.
Learn more about Australian ants
Ants of Brisbane. 2007. Burwell, C.J. Queensland Museum, Brisbane. 68 pages
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