Whistling Thorn Acrobat Ant

Crematogaster sp. ?

Crematogaster ant on Acacia thorn in Kajiado, Kenya. Photo © by Michael Plagens

Inhabiting thorns on Acacia drepanolobioum west on Insinya, Kajiado, Kenya. Dec. 2014. Dozens of these ants emerged from inside the thorn and began attacking when the plant was touched.

Whistling Thorn

Whistling Thorn, Acacia drepanolobium, photo © Michael Plagens

Crematogaster is a large genus of small ants that have a world-wide distribution and are easily recognized. Most are very small, less than 4 mm, and have a tear-drop or heart-shaped abdomen that can be readily rotated and bent. They are very often encountered on trees and shrubs where they prey on small insects and feed also on sugary substances.

This species inhabits the hollow thorn bases of Whistling Thorn Acacias. It is by design that these ants are invited by the plant because the ants' rapid response and stings are effective deterrents to many herbivores (Well, all this really happens over millions of generations via natural selection.).

Formicidae -- Ant Family

More Information:

Kenya Natural History

Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 28 June 2015