Meat Ant

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Meat Ant

Iridomyrmex purpureus


Forages during the day. Their nests are large mounds, cleared of vegetation and covered by small pebbles. The construction of their large nests help to aerate the soil. By collecting and removing dead material from the areas surrounding their nest, ants help to cycle organic material back into the ecosystem. The colony can contain tens of thousands of workers. There are different castes within the Meat Ant colony - the larger ones act as soldiers to defend the nest, and the smaller ones act as workers. Meat Ants are very aggressive and territorial and reduce the number of other ant species nesting and foraging in the area.


Details Description
Type
Invertebrate
Group
Insect - Ant
Identifying Characteristics

Workers' bodies up to 1 cm in length, dark purplish-brown.

Distinctive Markings

Purple body. Long legs and large head.

Diet

Omnivore. Eats nectar and other plant juices as well as juices from insects. Catches and eats animal prey. Food for echidnas.

Habitat

Lives in sandy or gravel soils in urban areas, forests, woodlands and heathlands.

Native Status
Native to Australia
Bites/Sting
Meat Ants can bite, but they do not have a sting. The worker ants secrete a defensive fluid from the end of their abdomen.
Taxonomy
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Insecta
Order
Hymenoptera
Family
Formicidae
Genus
Iridomyrmex
Species
purpureus
Found throughout Australia, including across Victoria.

Distribution maps indicate current and historic locations where species have been sighted.

Source: Atlas of Living Australia

Conservation Status
DEPI Advisory List
Not listed
FFG Act
Not listed
EPBC Act
Not listed

The conservation status of species is listed within Victoria and Australia.

The Department of Environment and Primary Industry (DEPI) Advisory List consists of non-statutory advisory lists of rare or threatened flora and fauna within Victoria.

The Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act) lists threatened species in Victoria. Under the Act, an Action Statement is produced for each listed species.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is the Australian Government’s key piece of environmental legislation, listing nationally threatened native species and ecological communities.