Replete honeypot ant with swollen abdomen

Honeypot ant

Good at sharing
Type
butterfly

Arthropods

Area
North America

North America

Endangered Status

Stable

facts

size
under .5 inch
depends on the caste
A gummy bear is 0.8 inches tall
Honeypot ant size compared to a gummy bear.

Worker ants come in different sizes and have different jobs. Certain worker ants, called repletes, can be the size of a small grape.

food
scavenger
nectar and small prey
small insects and plants
habitat
varies
scrublands and grassland
Grasslands

description

Replete honeypot ant with swollen abdomen

Food storage

Certain worker ants in this species develop hugely swollen abdomens. These ants are called repletes. In that bubble-like bulge, repletes store sugary, liquid nutrients. And they share! When food isn’t available, a hungry ant approaches a replete. The replete regurgitates the nutritious liquid into the other ant’s mouth. This is an adaptation for surviving drought.

Ant eating nectar from a flower

Scavengers

Honeypot ants are scavengers. They both eat dead and living insects. Some insects that eat plant sap leave behind a sugary liquid called honeydew. These ants love honeydew! Worker ants slurp it up. They also drink flower nectar.

Ants eating from replete honeypot ant with swollen abdomen

Hanging out

It’s hard for repletes to walk around, so they hang from the roof of their nest chamber. Other worker ants feed them. Workers regurgitate some of the honeydew and flower nectar they eat into the mouth of a replete.