Ant nest

Ants make a nest that can be as deep as 4 m in the soil

The Messor aciculatus ant makes the deepest nest in the world. The depth is about 4 m. Ant larvae can survive and grow even in winter, because the temperature is almost the same all the year-long at that depth. The nest is comfortable because it is cool in summer and warm in winter. Grass seeds collected in the fall are stored in chambers of the nest.

Ants have separate chambers for stock-piling food and discarding garbage.

There are many chambers in the nest of the Messor aciculatus ant. The chambers are allocated clearly by function into larvae chambers for raising larvae, food stock-piling chambers, garbage stations, and mother's chambers. Workers transfer the larvae to another comfortable chamber depending on the temperature. (Mother=Female=Queen).

Garbage station

Larvae chamber

Food stock-piling chamber.
The seed coat has been peeled away.

Mother's chamber. The large ant is the mother.

Explore an ant's nest using a power shovel
This is the third time for photographer, Mr. Kuribayashi to explore a nest of the Messor aciculatus ant. The left photo may be the first full color picture to have been taken of a Messor aciculatus nest.

A large chamber measuring 4 m in width
and 4 m in depth was dug out.

In an excavation like this, the soil is shaved away towards the ant's nest. When a chamber is discovered, a photograph is taken quickly.