Tuesday, 8 April 2008


A fascinating sight met me last evening as I set off to feed the cattle.

It was dead still. As I drove through the gate into the paddock, I observed a large number of the advance party of what I think were Camponotus sp. Possibly C. novaehollandiae (Sugar Ant.)

Camponotus (sub family Formicinae) are widespread in Australia.

As I was chucking the hay off, I noticed two small 'tornados' in the sky to the north east. They soon became one column. As luck would have it, I didn't have my camera at the time!

The photo below was taken when I got home. There were a number of columns in swarm coming from the same direction, north easterly.

I found a number of ants had landed on some washing on the clothes line. It was pet bedding so I wasn't too concerned!

What I found really interesting was how quickly the ants (I assume females) shed their wings and dropped to the ground.

The ants were generally an average of 1cm in length. Some were larger and some much smaller.

Apparently, ants on the wing use thermal currents to their advantage as they are not strong fliers, which made me wonder whether these were caught up in the windstorm we had last Wednesday 2/4/08) The winds were from the north east initially. Alternatively, we have had a few very still days and they simply chose the optimum time to take to the air.

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