Meat ants also known as meat-eater ants or gravel ants, are a species of ant belonging to the Iridomyrmex genus. Meat Ants are quite the large ants, with long legs and large head. Their abdomen is black in colour with dark red head. Their nest is in soil on ground. Meat Ants are general predators and scavengers, they also tend soft-bug, such as aphids, to collect honeydew.They can be found throughout Australia.
Recently it has been found that Australian meat ants could become foot soldiers in a war against cane toads. Meat ants are able to kill venomous cane toads, an introduced pest, as the toxins that usually kill a cane toad’s predator do not affect the meat ants. According to Shine: “The spread of cane toads through tropical Australia has created major ecological problems. The ideal way to control toad numbers would be to find a predator that kills and eats toads but leaves native frogs alone.
Scientists have discovered that the placement of cat food next to the habitats of young cane toads increases the likelihood of meat ants going on a murderous rampage. After eating the cat food, the meat ants along with their powerful mouth parts went on to devour nearby toads. The toads tend to reflexively freeze when attacked thus permitting the ants an easy picnic. When confronted by meat ants, 98% of young toads are attacked within two minutes and 70% of those attacked toads become all gobbled up.
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