Golden-tailed Spiny Ant
I found a nest of these very attractive ants a few years ago in the bush and thought I'd just keep an eye out today, while on our bush walk, just in case I saw some more and I did! I found a couple on a tree and looked down and there was a seething mass of them in the grass at the base of the tree. They aren't all that big - about 6 to 8mm, but are quite striking when you see all those lovely shiny golden abdomens moving about en masse.
I'm not sure how common they are in Victoria (they are much more common further North I believe), but they are not an ant I have ever seen in my garden or anywhere but deep in the bush. They have rather fearsome looking spikes on them (on the thorax - two facing forward and two facing backwards), but apparently they don't sting, just squirt formic acid at you...
I have to say that they are very hard to photograph - I had sandals on and really didn't want them crawling up my legs, so didn't want to get too close, and the light wasn't great and they were all moving constantly - quite challenging! This is the best I was able to get and I did have some nice flower shots today, but decided I wasn't very likely to see the ants again for a while, and flowers are easier to come by.
(The background is of more ants - I could only focus on one at a time!)
Try to find the spikes
- Olympus E-M5