Honeypot Ant - Wiki
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[Photo] Myrmecocystus ants storing nectar to prevent colony famine. Taken at the Cincinnati Zoo. Taken by Greg Hume (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Greg5030) on 9/17/06.
Honeypot ants, also called honey ants, are ants which are gorged with food by workers, to the point that their abdomens swell enormously, a condition called plerergate. Other ants then extract nourishment from them. They function essentially as living larders.
Sometimes raiders from other colonies will attempt to kidnap the resident honeypot ants because of their relatively high nutritional value.
The insects are edible and form an occasional part of the diet of various Australian Aboriginal peoples. Papunya, in Australia's Northern Territory is named after a honeyant creation story, or Dreaming, which belongs to the people there, such as the Warlpiri. The name of Western Desert Art Movement, Papunya Tula, means Honeyant Dreaming.
Several different groups of ants have independently evolved a honeypot lifestyle. The best known are the Myrmecocystus honeypots of western North America and Camponotus inflatus of Australia.
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