Lucy Corrander's picture

Do Ants Eat Sparrows?

Observed: 10th June 2013 By: Lucy CorranderLucy Corrander’s reputation in InvertebratesLucy Corrander’s reputation in InvertebratesLucy Corrander’s reputation in Invertebrates
      Dead Sparrow with Ants
Description:

Ants showing a lot of interest in the head of this dead sparrow. Just its head. Would anyone know why?

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Small Black Ant (Lasius niger) interacts

Comments

darob57's picture

I would guess they're going

I would guess they're going for the softer areas such as eyes, ears and around the mouth to get to the flesh.

Dave

Amadan's picture

They also prey

On small invertebrates, so they may be after the late bird's entourage of mites, lice and fleas.

Aláine's picture

I happened to have checked

I happened to have checked this out earlier in the week amazingly many ant species including the red ant (myrimica ruba) will work on the remains of small mammals,birds and amphibians until only the skeleton is left using the meat in nourishing larval ant cells. They show a myrimica sp. consuming a whole frog carcass overnight in this clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0fB4vYK5AE&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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www.alaineartandphotography.blogspot.ie

darob57's picture

Chewed to the bone

Natural history museums used to use ants for reducing mammals, birds etc. to their skeletal remains, but now use larvae of Dermestid beetles instead. All the flesh is removed without damaging the bones.

Dave

Amadan's picture

Most interesting

Thanks to Alaine and darob57 for the information - new to me.