Have you ever found an insect in person that you had only seen in a picture? How did you react? Excited? Puzzled? Giddy? Panicky? That was me when I found an Acrobat Ant for the first time.
When I saw this marvelous creature stuck between layers of shrink wrap , I had to look twice. Were my eyes really seeing this? YES! My feet did a little shuffle. My heart started racing. I did a little happy dance, similar to how this ant wiggles its abdomen. I hoped no one saw my circus act. I grabbed my flashlight and magnifying glass to confirm.
I wondered how this specimen got between layers of plastic. Did the shrink wrap send a pheromone signal saying that IT caught prey?😜I know the ant didn’t send any signals. This one lonely acrobat ant lost his way. I would bet that when I saw him, he wished he could have found his arboreal nest instead.
When looking up information on this ant, (I know very little about ants) I got the impression that he seems to be a little bit of a con artist. They will carry food by themselves, but won’t hesitate to get a buddy to do it if there are more than himself. They will also recruit other ants to help in the protection of a food source.
They lay a scent trail down for communication, recruitment, or other reasons. The scent comes from the gaster, which never touches the surface where the scent is being placed. I took it to mean that these acrobat ants pass gas. What!?
So… maybe this acrobat ant that I have dreamed about seeing in real life is, in fact, a circus act, like a clown, making others part of the show and spraying seltzer in your face.