Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Ants

Beside the general faunistic investigations on Danish ants the studies have mainly been concentrated on ecological aspects of Lasius flavus on tidal meadows and Lasius alienus on dry heath/grassland and the distribution and energy flow of ants in relation to climatic factors.
Many years of ant study in Northern Australia has focused on:

  • Nesting biology and adaption to tidal inundation on the mangrove living ants, - mostly Polyrharchis sokolova and Camponotus anderseni.
  • Physiological investigations of inundated ants and their adaption to extreme O2 and CO2 concentrations and their ability to switch to anaerobic respiration.
  • Fundamental biological investigations of the mating strategy and colony growth of the weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina. Additional, we have in connection to the ants use in biological control of pest animals, developed methods to collect fertilized queens and to speed up the colony growth of founding queens. This old traditional Chinese method has had a renaissance and it is now increasingly used in Australia and East Asia as pest control in several crops.  With a grant from DANIDA we will adopt the method to the African conditions and the local pest fauna there in mango and cashew plantations in Benin and Tanzania. On basis of several years study on the fundamental biology of this ant, we will develop “breeding farms” for the ants, so colonies can be available for the farmers without influencing the natural habitats by removing natural colonies from the nature.

For more details of the project:
Ants help African farmers

Weaver (or Green) Ant

Weaver ants are characterised by building nests of interwoven leaves. This species uses the silk thread produced by their larvae for weaving. A colony of weaver ants can consist of many nests, but only one of them contains the queen. (Photo: Mogens Gissel Nielsen).