When you are building a new home sometimes you need some help. A little teamwork goes a long way and these green tree ants (or weaver ants) from Australia could teach us a thing or two about that. Their own task may, to begin with, seem almost impossible but with some supreme acrobatic skills anything, it seems, is possible.
The ants climb on top of each other to form a kind of any pyramid or bridge to reach from one small twig or branch to another. This collaboration has to be seen to be believed. First they survey potential leaves by pulling at them with their mandibles.
Then, a group of ants will join together to pull the leaf to where they want it – to the edge of another. They hang on to each other by gripping on to each other’s petioles which is the ant equivalent of a waist.
There can often be a number of large chains working together to draw the leaves close. What happens next is just as remarkable. Some workers will then go and retrieve larvae from nests which have already been built. They are then squeezed so that they produce a kind of silk.
The worker ants then bind the leaves together. Once done the larvae can be placed inside the nest. However, because there is only a certain amount of silk that a larva can produce the offspring of the green tree ant must pupate without a cocoon.
What is at the center of all this activity? Why, the queen of course, ready to bring the next generation in to the world once the nest is complete. This remarkable incidence of working together as a single team is not unique in the ant world, yet it must be said that most species do not possess the acrobatic prowess of the Australian green tree ant.