WHERE HAVE THE GREEN ANTS GONE?

GREEN ANTS – WHEREFORE ARE YOU?

There used to be green ants aplenty in the NT. They were everywhere. They had nests in vines and trees and proliferated the Northern Suburbs of Darwin. They could bite and it never paid to disturb their nests in any wanton manner. However, they were the best of agents when it came to fertilising flowers. I relied on them to look after flowers which preceded passion fruits and various tropical plants in our yard.

Then they disappeared. That disappearance happened suddenly about ten years ago. They are no more around our suburbs. Where have they gone? I have asked an no-one knows.

What I DO know is that green ants have become a delicacy. They are central to an indigenous industry that has them appearing in gin, cheese, a variety of spreads and other delicacies. A television program showed collection of green ants as being all about knocking their nesting colonies from trees, bagging and taking them away for processing.

This begs the question. Are green ants on the wild being replaced or are their numbers being decimated? Given the fact that they are being reduced in number to feed an ever voracious niche market in food and drink preparation, it is not too premature to ask whether this species will become extinct in the Northern Territory.

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