Easily identified by their enlarged abdomen containing honey, the honey ant
has 6 legs, and three parts to their body (head, thorax, abdomen).
Honey ants are ants that have been gorged with food by worker ants, so much so
that their abdomens swell, functioning as a living larder. The ants are fed by
the collected honeydew made by the Red Mulga Lerp, Austrotachardia acaciae
The sweet nectar of the honey ants makes it one of the popular bush tucker eaten by the Indigenous
Aborigines of Australia, especially in Central Australia and the Northern
The honey ants live in nests, up to 2 metres deep, below specific
mulga trees. The nest are said to be usually found on the shady side of the
tree. The honey ants dig deep underground tunnels and chambers
where they live.
The local Indigenous women search for the nests of the honey ants by locating the drill holes under the trees, that give
away their presences. Using their wooden digging sticks, although now this may
be replaced by shovels and metal bars, the women dig down, following the honey
ants tunnels (nyinantu), until they find the ants, which are collected in the
The honey ant is a popular
symbol depicted in Indigenous art work.