Honeypot Ants

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. Honeypot ants belong to any of five genera, including Myrmecocystus. They were first discovered in 1881 by Henry C. McCook.

Some worker ants turn into honeypots right from their emergence from pupa stage. The young ants stay in the nest, and the worker ants who collect honey, feed them. As they feed more honey than they need, the surplus honey gets stored in their abdomen. As their abdomen expand, the ants lose their mobility.

Although the Aboriginal diet was generally low in sugar, honeypot ants were a highly valued food that provided a source of sugar for the Aborigines of central Australia.

Honeypot Ants

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