Prenolepis nitens (False HoneyPot Ant)
This amber yellow species is located mainly throughout Central and Northern Europe.
They are a very attractive small ant that clearly distinguishes itself from many other species by its workers' replete abilities.
Repletes? What's that about? Similarly but not to the same extent as true honeypot ants of the genera Myrmecocystus spp. workers of this species are able to accumulate and store nutrients in their extended gasters in the form of fat reserves. These are then secreted by these workers when a sister worker stimulates the tip of the gaster by essentially "tickling" it.
These rather cute ants are found typically in warm, humid deciduous forests and grassland. However, with urbanisations rapidly encroaching, many colonies have been found in urban areas such as man-made parks.
Lastly did you know that these ants are actually cryophilic?
"Cryo - what?" Cryophilic, that's right. Unlike many of its European counterparts which hibernate due to colder conditions with low temepratures, Prenolepis nitens actually continues to forage and carry on with its daily tasks even at temperatures nearing 0 C. Some scientists say this is one of their adaptations to feeding as they can take advantage of smaller invetebrates which may be very slow moving due to the cold or simply nearly frozen! Talk about scary!
They are a very docile and hardy species of ant that is suitable for beginners landr more experienced enthusiasts alike. 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.