Oecophylla smaragdina

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Common name: The Orange Weaver Ant.

    This is a well known species that constructs its nests from leaves that are held together by strands of silk woven by its larvae.
    The workers are quite variable in size. The smaller workers only measure 3-4 mm and these take care of the queen and brood. In time as the colony grows larger major workers / soldiers are produced and these do the hunting and defend the colony. These can be12 mm in size and are armed with powerful mandibles. They are aggressive strong ants and will vigorously attack anything they find within their territory. They are an attractive orange color - this also serves as a warning to predators that they are dangerous.
    The new queens found colonies independently and start their nests in a single folded leaf, but colonies increase in size quickly and within a few months they will be using two or three leaves, and then within a year will have a nest the size of a clenched fist. From this stage onwards they expand very quickly.
    Mature colonies can have 500,000 workers and these mature colonies will construct several large nests scattered amongst all the nearby trees.    
    Their favorite food seems to be sweet secretions from insects living on the trees, but they also vigorously hunt insects and larger colonies will forage across the ground near the base of the trees.
    The easiest way to keep them is in a large potted plant, stood on an upturned pot in a bowl of water, which stops them to stop them escaping. However this natural method does limit what can be seen within the nest and some success has been achieved by keeping them in glass containers / large test tubes hung in the plants.
    Colonies are very difficult to establish from just queens and frequently fail in the early stages. With this in mind we recommend that you choose the option with workers.