Ants' Cannibal Behavior

Oecophylla smaragdina , commonly known as semut rangrang in Indonesia, is a species of arboreal ant that is a member of the subfamily Formicinae. This species is commonly observed in all parts of Indonesia. They build nests on tree leaves and develop into large colonies.






I noticed something intriguing about this ant yesterday. For one ant, two ants are fighting each other. Whether the ant that became prey is still alive or has turned into carrion is unknown to me. The two ants do engage in cannibalism against other members of their own species.







Another colony of ants has engaged in a fight for prey only a few inches away from them. However, the prey is bush cricket. Their powerful and sharp jaws continually pull at their prey.




This is a typical occurrence in the ant kingdom. What about the act of cannibalism, though? To be really honest, this is the first I've ever seen.

All of the images here are my own work, taken with Xiaomi POCO NFC smartphone and an assembled external macro lens.


The probability if weaver ants rescue or kill injured conspecifics from different colonies seem to depend on if they smell similar or different than ants of the own colony.

I really appreciate you providing this additional information, Jaki. It's quite interesting stuff. My observations lead me to believe that they were killing it rather than rescuing it. That's seen from their jaws, which bite their prey's neck and legs.

Yes, in your case the victim could be an already injured weaver ant of the same species but from another colony, which then would suit into the pattern described above ... Of course that's just a guess only ...

Están geniales las fotos, es increíble ver animales tan pequeños de cerca

Thank you :)