The Ants - Study Guide Chapter 19 Weaver Ants Summary & Analysis

Bert Hölldobler
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This chapter concludes the natural history approach started in Chapter 16, and deals exclusively with weaver ants. The weaver ants of the genus Oecophylla are large-bodied, exclusively arboreal ants. Their remarkable social features have prompted numerous unusually careful and thorough studies. Their nests are composed of large leaves which are pulled over, edge-to-edge, to make a hollow enclosure. The leaf edges are then held together by larval silk, woven together into sheets. In these ants, the larvae surrender their silk on cue and are carried about, by the workers, as living shuttles.

The unique method of nest building employed frees weaver ants from the traditional constraints of colony size and location imposed by more typical nesting sites; "Populations of a half million or more often occur, with nests extending through the crowns of up to three or more good-sized trees" (Chapter 19, p. 619).

Nest structure...

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