Sunday, January 28, 2007


Rare red ants get a helping hand

Conservationists have been awarded almost £50,000 to help save a rare species of red ant from becoming extinct in mainland Britain..."The ants are quite unusual because they form nests that are either all female or all male," said Emily Brennan, ZSL's native species conservation programme manager.

Habitat destruction is the culprit for this unusual species. Another threat they face is predation by slave making ants:

"What they do is take all the pupae, carry it off to their own nest and bring them up as slave-maker ants - this is what happened at one site in Surrey...So at the sites we are going to be working on, we are going to be making sure these ants are not in the area."

The captive breeding of ants is a major undertaking. The "warm fuzzies" are the animals that tend to grab attention and headlines. So it's great to see this much effort going to the humblest of creatures.

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