Messor cf. ebeninus (Middle Eastern Harvester Ant)
A type of harvester ant species commonly found throughout the Middle East and territories in North Africa. This species has a predominantly black hairless body. This is a polymorphic species of ant with a range of different sized workers, from minors to medias to majors!
Harvester ants? Like many species belonging to the Messor genus, they actually do just that! These little critters will form several metre non-stop lines of workers carrying plant seeds and husks from A (source of seeds) to B (back to nest). Usually from dawn till dusk! It gets even more interesting!
Harvested seeds aren't actually just collected and stored. In order to become useful to the colony, the workers (usually those of the media caste) will deshell the pulp from the husk and chew this and combining it with their own saliva and enzymes to create a type of 'ant bread'. This is then fed to their youngsters, the larvae!
In the wild, nests are often found amongst low lying shrubs and ground dwelling plants typically associated with undisturbed land in a desert ecosystem.
They are a generally docile species of ant that is very suitable for beginners In terms of growth they are quite fast to develop once the colony reaches 20 workers and over.
It is illegal and strictly frowned upon to release any non-native ants into the wild.