The Shining Coconut Ant is essential to the survival of the nationally rare Small Ant-blue Butterfly, with the butterfly spending its larvae and pupae stages within the ant's nest. The Small Ant-blue is only known from a few locations both in the ACT and nationally, while the Shining Coconut Ant seems quite widespread in the Canberra area. The nests of the Shining Coconut Ant are very distinctive and it is hopped that by mapping the distribution of the ant we may find more breeding colonies of the butterfly. A similar species, the Hairy Coconut Ant also occurs in the ACT and region.
The Coconut Ant build nests in the ground and in dead wood on or near the surface. The nests are readily identified because the ant build a cover of vegetatable and soil matter, with a carboard like consistency, over nests, forage ways, at the base of eucalypt salpings and along tree stems. The material is most obvious on top of cut stumps and in the cracks of fallen timber (see photos).
The clinching test as to whether it is a Coconut Ant nest is to squash one of the few mm long ants and a very strong coconut oil smell should be immediately obvious.
The Coconut Ant feeds on the excretions of leafhoppers and scale incsects, that are feeding on eucalypts and wattles so nests tend to be in areas with much sapling growth. Work in Victoria also suggests that nests are most likely to be found on flatter well drained areas where projected foliage cover is less than 25% and fallen timber and dead wood is present.
Happy ant hunting. Please report any nest to Canberra Nature MAp
MapsMount Majura Mount Ainslie Black Mountain Mount Mugga Mugga Cooleman Ridge Isaacs Ridge Pine Island to Point Hut Mount Painter Goorooyarroo Mulanggari Grasslands Namadgi National Park The Pinnacle Uriarra Recreation Reserve Woodstock Nature Reserve Callum Brae Tuggeranong Hill Aranda Bushland Red Hill Nature Reserve Mount Taylor Farrer Ridge Wanniassa Hill Jerrabomberra Grassland Stony Creek Cotter Reserve Point Hut to Tharwa Kama Lake Ginninderra ANBG Isaacs Ridge Offset Area Mount Jerrabomberra Umbagong District Park Illilanga & Baroona Isaacs Ridge and Nearby Piney Ridge Rugosa at Yass River Melrose Federal Golf Course Hughes Grassy Woodland
Points of interestPoint 4372 Point 4598
PlacesWatson, ACT Paddys River, ACT O'Malley, ACT Symonston, ACT Isaacs, ACT Majura, ACT Stromlo, ACT Coree, ACT Wanniassa, ACT Hackett, ACT Acton, ACT Yass River, NSW Michelago, NSW Ainslie, ACT Latham, ACT Aranda, ACT Karabar, NSW Hughes, ACT Tennent, ACT Red Hill, ACT Undefined, ACT Higgins, ACT Belconnen, ACT Wamboin, NSW Garran, ACT Theodore, ACT Greenway, ACT Bonython, ACT Hume, ACT Downer, ACT Deakin, ACT Cook, ACT Palmerston, ACT Hall, ACT Holt, ACT Amaroo, ACT Hawker, ACT Macarthur, ACT Chifley, ACT Dunlop, ACT Jerrabomberra, ACT Molonglo Valley, ACT Uriarra Village, ACT Denman Prospect, ACT Tuggeranong DC, ACT
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