Acropyga species: Forest sugar ants


TRIBE: Lasiini

Acropyga arnoldi (Santschi, 1926)
Yellow forest sugar ant

This uncommon little ant is the only one of its genus recorded from South Africa. The species was reviewed by A. J. Prins in 1981; Prins recorded finding specimens at Paternoster, Saldanha and at Gansbaai. Our specimens come from the bank next to the road at Grootvadersbosch, near Heidelberg (Cape).
The ground-dwelling ants are seldom seen and are almost certainly nocturnal, having very reduced, almost invisible eyes. The tiny ants [>3mm] are yellow and shiny, appearing almost transparent under magnification. 

Despite their uncommon, secretive nature the ants are of some economic importance. The species, with six or seven other species in the genus, possesses an unusual quality: when the young females [alates] fly out from the nest on their mating flight, they carry in their jaws a single female mealy-bug. These are of various species depending upon area. The mealybugs are always themselves carrying fertile eggs; thus the ants are responsible for distribution of these plant pests, while ensuring a supply of plant nectar for themselves.

Survive invasive species:
Linepithema humile       : Argentine ants       : No
Pheidole megacephala  : House ants            : unknown
Lepisiota sp.                  : Small Black ants    : unknown
Technomyrmex albipes : White-footed ants  : unknown
Anoplolepis gracilipes   : Yellow Crazy ants  : unknown

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