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The biting ant with many names.....

A now common sight in Hong Kong Oecophylla smaragdina (common names include weaver ant, green ant, green tree ant, and orange gaster) is a species of arboreal ant, which in Hong Kong is RED not GREEN, but hey, you cannot argue with a scientist.

These ants form colonies with multiple nests in trees, each nest being made of leaves stitched together using the silk produced by the ant larvae.with nests built in trees, with leaves "glued" together, and they can be seen all year round.

They do not sting, but have a painful bite into which they can secrete irritant chemicals from their abdomens.They are quite large in size (for an ant!) and have a half transparent abdomen which shows the internal organs. They are extremely aggressive and bites can hurt, especially if many catch you unawares at the same time. They are omnivores, eating just about anything, and can take down prey (or threats to their nest) many times their size, as in these photos with a snail and a centipede.

In India, the adult ants are used in traditional medicine as a remedy for rheumatism, and an oil made from them is used for stomach infections and as an aphrodisiac. The pupae are said to have a taste variously described as creamy, sour and lemony. Yum Yum.

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