Borneo ponerine nests (Ruth, UK)

When in Borneo, I noticed that the Diacamma ponerines on the forest floor of primary forest surrounded the entrance to their nest at the bottom of saplings with nests of twigs like birds' nests. Do you know what these are for? They also turned out to be regularly spaced.


Ruth Levy


Hi Ruth,

The stacks of twigs over the entrances of the colonies you found are likely required for proper nest thermoregulation. Temperatures in ant nests must be maintained within particular limits or the ants may die or their young may fail to develop correctly. The twigs can contribute to temperature control by keeping nests out of direct sunlight and protecting against wind. We have several previous posts on colony temperature regulation here, here and here.

Thanks for your question,

Alexandra Westrich, Ben Rubin & the AntAsk Team

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