Common name: ‘The Acrobat Ant’ or ‘The Cocktail Ant’
The common name relates to their habit of raising their abdomens forward over the thorax and head, which allows them to point their abdominal tip in nearly all directions. When in conflict, these ants release a venom which is repulsive to other ants and toxic to prey.
The smallish 2mm workers are brownish red and the queens about 6 mm.
These ants construct arboreal nests usually in cavities or under bark, although they will also forage over the ground. They farm ‘herds’ of sap sucking insects and hunt both dead and live insects. When they find prey, they immediately attack and release an alarm pheromone that alerts other workers in the area.
Queens found colonies independently, but it is unknown if colonies remain with a single queen or accept additional queens back into the colony.
These ants participate in a form of mutualism called myrmecophytism. In this plants / trees provide shelter and secreted food, while the ants provide the plants with protection from individuals that might damage them. The ants become alarmed when the plant is disturbed and quickly emerge from their nest vigorously attacking whatever the threat is.
They are best kept in a set up that imitates their natural habitat with plenty of branches to climb.