Would you like some Honeypot Ants for dinner, Honey?

Would you like some Honeypot Ants for dinner, Honey?
honeypot antimage credit: library.thinkquest.org

honeypot antimage credit: livescience.com

honeypot antimage credit: Greg Hume

eating a honeypot antimage credit: lonelyplanetimages.com
Habitat: a variety of arid or semi-arid environments

Honeypot ants are the ultimate self-sacrificers. They give up their stunning physique for the good of the colony, which, to me, would be an extremely altruistic act.

What happens is some of the ants are used as living “storage units” full of nectar and honey by gorging themselves on the food until their abdomens become so distended with the substances, that their abdomens actually expand to the size of a grape! These ants, called repletes, will feed the other workers by regurgitating the yummy mixture into the worker’s mouths. Now doesn’t that sound appetizing?

This method of food storage developed because of the climate in which these ants are found. It’s terribly difficult to find vast quantities of food in the desert, and the ants came up with the brilliant solution to store it for when times are tough. Though, the method of storing it does seem a little extreme to me… but hey whatever works for ya.

The native people of Australia have long regarded Honeypot Ants as a welcomed dessert. Nothing like the engorged abdomens of ants for a treat!

Even David Attenborough gets in on the gooey goodness in this BBC clip. Be sure to watch him take a huge bite out of the honey-filled ant – unless you just ate or are about to, then I really wouldn’t recommend it.