Saturday, February 26, 2011

Kerengga




'Kerengga' or weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina)is a tropical ant that makes its home (nest) by waving togather the leaves of plants on which it lives. It can live on any plant whether the plant is a tree or a creeping plant. In this picture, it is the creeping Ipomea sp. The ant is reddish brrown in colour and the size may range from 0.8-1.5 cm long. The end has a bulging end, which contains acidic substance. When the ant bites it 'enemy' it oozes the acid so as to rub salt to the wound. This will make the biting more painful than just a simple bite.

The name kerengga has been confused among Oecophylla smaragdina and Myrmarachne plataleoides, but perhaps can be recognised instantly when we see the woven leaves. Within the nest, the female, that is the queen, will lay hundreds of eggs. These eggs will hatch into whitish larvae. The larvae pupate before transforming into small-sized ants, which eventually grow into adult ants.

The ant is a cummunal society. The workers and the soldiers will guard the nest, biting any organism that happens to settle on the branches or leaves of the plants they inhabit. They are more aggressive at points near the nests. Members of a community recognise intruders even if they belong to the same species. If an ant from another plant is placed on another plant, the members of the intruded plant will 'scan' the intruder for a while before deciding to attack it. What could be recognition system?. Pheromones?

Ants are created by God to serve certain purposes on this earth. Hence. they should not be killed just for the fun of it. They may have significance in term of physical world as in food chain, biological control, soil aeration and soil amendment, or they may serve as inspirational article to human being, who can learn some aspects of their social behavior or their ability. In addition, ants may contain some substances which, in the future, may contribute to medications that can boast human health.

Further Reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrmarachne_plataleoides
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oecophylla_smaragdina
http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-04142007-091557/unrestricted/etd2.pdf
http://soe-townsville.org/greentreeants/program.html

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