Messor Barbarus - Beginner Species - Medium to Large in Size

 

This species is one of the most common Harvesters in the European continent. Found throughout central and southern Europe they are typically all black with a deep purple/red head, sometimes you can find combinations of red on the gaster, throrax as well. This is especially true in the queens and large major workers. However the minors and media workers normally lack this red trait. Either way, casting a light over a Barbarus colony is always set to be unique to that colony in its colouring.

 

These ants in particular made news headlines all over spain when farmers believed they were stealing their seeds and began a cull only to realise they actually play a massive part of the ecosystem and benefit the production for crop farmers completely. Messors will carry the seeds on their own roads back to the colony, sometimes up to 100ft away.

 

This process causes seed dispersal and helps airate the soil within their nests. It has been rumoured that a Messor will even plant seeds outside the nest, we dont know if this is for idleness, to germinate them for the soft srout, to hide their nest or to secure future seeds. either way you will be able to draw your own conclusions when you watch them yourself.

 

Harvested seeds are eaten by the ants, using the large Majors jaws to de-shell them. They are then chewed into a protein rich food source known as "ant-bread". It is this antbread these ants get 90% of their nutrients from.

 

In the wild, nests are often found amongst low lying shrubs and ground dwelling plants typically associated with Olive groves and land unhindered by humans, wherever there are plants which seed, Messors will be somewhere nearby.

 

Colony Size

Excess of 10,000 workers

Slow growth until 30 to 50 workers, colony will grow rapidly with the first Majors.

Queen Age

Up to 30 years

Temperature & Humidity

22 to 25 degrees nest | 23 to 27 outworld

50% to 70% Nest (Lower for seed store) | 30% to 50% outworld

Hibernation

Yes - November to Feb

Polymorphic (Different size casts)

Yes

Sting

No

Bite

Yes

Diet

Seeds, Nuts, Grains, Occasional Sugar, Occasional extra protein.

Nest Type

Natural, Acrylic, Sand, Earth, Glass

Size

Queen - 14mm-18mm

Worker - 3mm-16mm

Polymorphic - Yes, Majors can be almost as big as the Queen 

Development

Egg to Adult Worker - 8 to 10 weeks

Messor Barbarus - Harvester

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Colouring