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Published on Apr 30, 2012
I found these ants on my jumper. They must have landed on me while still mating but their behaviour appears to be completely natural and unaffected by the circumstances.
The young queen is removing the tip of the male's abdomen which is still attached to her. This injury to the male is fatal so he wasn't long for this world I'm afraid.
The queen then uses her hind pair of legs to tear her wings off which are designed to come off easily. This is the usual practice for queen ants that have just mated and in some species the queen will then eat the wings, which will help to sustain her until she produces the first workers to provide for her. But with this species the wings apparently go to waste.