Arboreal Bicolored Ant

Tetraponera rufonigra

Tetraponera rufonigra is a species of ant in the Tetraponera genus. It naturally occurs in Malagasy: Seychelles Islands, India, Sri Lanka, Nicobar Islands, Myanmar, Vietnam, China.
Slicing off the meal! Slender Ant (Tetraponera rufonigra) slicing off a Black Marsh Dart (Onychargia atrocyana)

Ants slice off the wings to make the transport more comfortable; not because of the weight of the prey but to easily get over hurdles. Ants,Arboreal Bicolored Ant,Black Marsh Dart,Geotagged,India,Onychargia atrocyana,Slender Ant,Tetraponera rufonigra,slice off the wings

Appearance

The workers of this species are about 10-12 mm and have a very slender body with short legs. The head, abdomen and top portion of their legs are black and their thorax and petiole are orange-red.

The queens are slightly larger than the workers at about 13-15 mm. In Northern Thailand the alates are produced in Jan – February which is at the end of the cold season. The females and males are a similar size suggesting mating takes place on the ground or on nearby shrubs.
The new queens form colonies independently and can frequently be found in the nests of a species of termite - suggesting that maybe at the colony foundation stage they are temporary parasitic on termites.

Distribution

Indo-Australian Region: Indonesia, Krakatau Islands.
Malagasy Region: Nicobar Island, Seychelles.
Oriental Region: Bangladesh, India (type locality), Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam.
Palaearctic Region: China.

Their natural habitat is seasonal tropical forests where they create nests in old dead tree stumps but they can also be found near human habitation where they will nest in old posts and beams. Where no suitable wood is present they will nest in the hollow stems of woody plants.
In captivity they seem to take to most types of artificial nest and if given a spoonful of earth they will produce a mud / saliva mix to reduce to size of the entrance so just a single worker can fit through.

Behavior

Each colony usually has one queen and colonies seem to vary in size from about 300 - 500 workers. Occasionally vigorous colonies in ideal conditions will accept a second or even a third queen but colonies with more than one queen are rarely found.

For the first few years after a colony is established the queens are not given much attention and almost act as workers - but once a colony is well established with a good force of workers the queens become more swollen and the workers become much more attentive.

Established colonies can usually be found nesting in old dead hardwood which is extremely difficult to get into and the entrance to their nest is often very small with just enough room for a worker to squeeze in - hence the colony is well protected from predators. They will utilize passages left by other insects such as wood borers and will slowly over time carve out larger chambers.

Food

They are very territorial towards their own kind and workers will instantly attack any workers from other colonies. They are aggressive predators and in the wild feed on other ant’s alates, small insects, sugary excretions and termites.

References:

Some text fragments are auto parsed from Wikipedia.

http://www.myantshop.com/Tetraponera.htm
Taxonomy
KingdomAnimalia
DivisionArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderHymenoptera
FamilyFormicidae
GenusTetraponera
SpeciesTetraponera rufonigra
Photographed in
India