honey ant
any of several ants, esp. of the genus Myrmecocystus, that feed on honeydew or nectar and store the excess juices in the bodies of certain worker ants.
[1865-70]

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insect
      any member of several different species of ant (family Formicidae; order Hymenoptera) that have developed a unique way of storing the honeydew, a by-product of digestion that is gathered mainly from the secretions of aphids and scale insects. A worker ant, fed by the others, is called a replete. The honeydew is stored in the replete's abdomen, which can become distended to many times its normal size. The replete hangs from the ceiling of an underground chamber, sometimes for months, until the ant colony needs the stored food. After stimulation, the replete regurgitates the sweet honeydew.

      The different honey ants apparently evolved this method of storage independent of each other. They include Melophorus, Leptomyrmex, Plagiolepis, Camponotus, Myrmecocystus, and Prenolepis. In some countries honey ants are considered a great delicacy; either the entire replete or only the golden-coloured abdomen may be eaten.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Honey ant — Honey Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • honey ant — /ˈhʌni ænt/ (say hunee ant) noun → honey pot ant …   Australian English dictionary

  • honey ant — noun : any of various ants some of whose workers serve as receptacles for the storage of honey which they are able to regurgitate from their greatly distended abdomens when it is needed to feed other members of the colony …   Useful english dictionary

  • honey ant — noun an ant that stores honeydew and nectar in its elastic abdomen, regurgitating it to feed nest mates. [Myrmecocystus and other genera.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • Honey — Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by bees… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Honey badger — Honey Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Honey bear — Honey Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Honey buzzard — Honey Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Honey guide — Honey Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Honey harvest — Honey Hon ey (h[u^]n [y^]), n. [OE. honi, huni, AS. hunig; akin to OS. honeg, D. & G. honig, OHG. honag, honang, Icel. hunang, Sw. h[*a]ning, Dan. honning, cf. Gr. ko nis dust, Skr. ka[.n]a grain.] 1. A sweet viscid fluid, esp. that collected by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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