Ants

Recently I have been spending time photographing ants, in particular behaviour of colonies that I can identify to the actual species. One of the most widespread is Myrmica rubra, these workers were drinking from a water droplet during the hot weather earlier in the year.

Mrymica rubra workers

On several warm evenings the new generation of queens has been taking flight, the one below has mated and is about to take off from a roof.

Mrymica rubra Queen

Myrmica schencki  (below) is a very similar species, but much scarcer and the only location I know for it is on a very dry south-facing slope on limestone quarry waste. Workers appear quite numerous although I have not found a nest.

Myrmica schencki

Leptothorax acervorum (below) is an ant that I find on wood and rock-faces, they have small colonies and are able to sqeeze into tiny cracks in wood and rock where they nest.

Leptothorax acervorum]

They also seem to co-exist with other ant species, so can be found even if more aggressive species such as Formica lemani is present.

Formica lemani

I uncovered this nest of F. lemani so the workers were desparate to move the pupa back under cover. Unusually the larvae of this species do not always spin a cocoon before pupating, this worker is moving a naked pupa, but many were encased within a cocoon.