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The marriage-flight of a bull-dog ant (Myrmecia sanguinea F. Smith)

Journal of Animal Behavior , Volume 6 (1): 70 – Jan 1, 1916


Henry Holt and Company, Inc.
Copyright © 1916 by American Psychological Association
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The marriage-flight of a bull-dog ant (Myrmecia sanguinea F. Smith)


Reports the observation of the nuptial flight of "bull-dog ants', with special reference to the species, Myemecia sanguinea F. Smith. It is the largest and most aggressive species, widely distributed in Australia. As soon as a male captures a female on a bush, the other males surround the couple till there is a struggling mass of ants forming a big ball. Then the ball falls to the ground and the ants scatter. This confirms the observation of Tepper and Froggatt. It has been concluded that the species of the Ponerine genus Myrmecia celebrates a regular marriage flight, which occur during January in northern New South Wales or a few months later in the more southern and colder portions of Australia. It has been inferred that each female Myrmecia, after fecundation, loses her wings, enters the ground, and establishes a small colony without the assistance of workers of her own species.
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