Image for Repletes


Duration: 01:25

The largest honey ant workers take on a very special role in the colony - repletes. They are force-fed load after load of nectar by forager ants until their abdomens become the size of peas. As they get bigger, they haul themsleves up onto the roof of the nest to avoid being damaged. Once hanging from the roof, the repletes refine the nectar into thick honey. During long winters and droughts, repletes regurgitate their contents to feed other colony inhabitants - a strategy to enable these ants to survive in the desert.
Empire of the Ants is the epic story of one honey ant queen's dramatic rise to power - her brutal fall from grace.

Available since: Thu 4 Aug 2011


Series Editor
Steve Greenwood
Andy Serkis
Ian Gray
Executive Producer
Tim Martin

This clip is from

Natural World 2011-2012, Empire of the Desert Ants

2/13 A look at how a new honey ant queen wages a battle for survival while building her empire.

First broadcast: 10 Aug 2011

Image for Empire of the Desert Ants Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

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