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7th June 2012

Ants raise the flag for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee!

Leafcutter Ants at the Stratford Butterfly Farm have been celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in their own unique style! High above on a rope walkway stretching 25 metres, the colony of Ants have been cutting up Union Jack bunting and marching it back to their nest!

Leafcutter Ants at the Stratford Butterfly Farm have been celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in their own unique style! High above on a rope walkway stretching 25 metres, the colony of Ants have been cutting up Union Jack bunting and marching it back to their nest! (see attached pictures!).

The Ants, known as Atta Cephalotes, originate from Trinidad. The colony at the Butterfly Farm already has its own Queen which is the size of a large Bumble Bee and is enveloped in the Fungus garden where she is tended to by her tiny workers. Male and female flying Ants leave the nest once a year and when the females lose their wings and become Queens, the males die!

Emma Bartholomew, Marketing Manager of the Stratford Butterfly Farm stated “Watching the Ants march along their rope with the Union Jack bunting was a fascinating sight and one the Queen would have loved to see! Even though the celebrations are over, the Ants will continue to entertain and amaze visitors as they march along their rope walkway!”

The Ants are able to carry loads exceeding 10 times their own body weight and next to humans, they form the largest and most complex animal societies on Earth. All the workers are female; males are only produced when creating new colonies.

Some Ants hitch a ride back on the leaves being carried, acting as guards against parasitic flies. Ants don't eat the leaves but pass them on to specialist workers who mulch them into the fungus....it is the fungus the Ants feed on. Ants travel by following pheromones; just 1 gram of this pheromone is enough to lay a trail around the world!

To see the Ants and hundreds of other spectacular butterflies, insects, reptiles and spiders visit the Butterfly Farm from 10:00am to 5.30pm every day of the week. Entry fees are Adults £6.25, Seniors & Students £5.75, Children (under 3’s go free) £5.25, Family (2 adults & 2 children) £18.50. Group discounts are available. Prices have not increased for the last two years and a visit to the Butterfly Farm represents fantastic value for money.

For more information on the Stratford Butterfly Farm please visit the official website at www.butterflyfarm.co.uk or telephone on 01789 299288