There are around 20 quadrillion ants in the world (that’s 20 plus fifteen zeros!) and together they weigh more than all wild birds and mammals combined.
Because they generally prefer warmer climates, Aotearoa has fewer species of ant than other countries. Out of the more than 12,000 ant species in the world, Aotearoa only has 11. They mostly live quietly out of sight in forests throughout the country under stones and logs.
The Southern Michellan ant, Amblyopone australis, is not one of our native ants. It’s actually native to Australia and established itself across the North Island some time in the nineteenth century. Although it is introduced, it’s not generally considered invasive.
Worker ants vary from yellow to dark brown or even black and are roughly 5-8mm big, although the queens are larger. Compared to other ants, they are considered “fat-waisted.” They forage above ground, stinging and paralysing other invertebrates and feeding their body parts to their larvae!
They live in relatively small colonies of tens to hundreds of ants, although colonies can have up to 2000 individuals.
Check these links for more info on Southern Michelin Ants in NZ
iNaturalist.nz: Observations of Amblyopone australis
Wikipedia: Information on Amblyopone australis
AntWiki: Amblyopone australis
Click on the image to visit the official iNaturalist.nz observation.