Ant maiting

Preparation for the mating flight
When the mating flight is approaching, workers busily move in and out of the nest entrance. The head of a male appears, but because it is too early for mating, he is pulled back into the nest with his leg held by the mouth of a worker ant.

A nest of Camponotus japonicus from which the young female and young male appear

Flying away from a height
The young male has finally flown away from the nest entrance as if he could not be restrained any more. However, a young female with a large abdomen cannot fly easily because she is heavy. She climbs up a grass tem in order to make the flight from a height.

A yound Camponotus japonicus (female) ant flying away from a leaf

The young female loses her wings and makes a nest

A male that died after the mating flight

After 1 hour or so, the female that has completed mating returns to the ground and her wings fall off in readiness for the change to becoming a mother (Queen). The male dies sooner or later after the mating and becomes food for other ants and small birds.
A female that has returned to the ground and whose wings have fallen off