Timid T. rex
In captivity, the colony further exhibited the retiring manner that has made these ants so elusive. They were more active at night than during the day, suggesting that they are probably nocturnal in the wild, Wong said. They are not aggressive. When exposed to a potential threat, like a millipede, the ants curled up and froze, likely hoping to be overlooked so they could run away when the immediate danger passed.
Despite offering the ants an absolute smorgasbord of food, Wong and Yong could not determine what the ant version of T. rex eats. They rejected termites, smaller ants, mites, millipedes and even honey, Wong said. When shown a drop of honey, they kept their distance, except for a tentative poke at the sticky substance with their antennae. [In Photos: Trap-Jaw Ant Babies Grow Up]
Besides the 13 adult workers, the T. rex colony consisted of two worker pupae, one male pupa, nine larvae and five eggs. The male pupa emerged as an adult two days into captivity, but the other ants immediately ate him. It was "unfortunate," Wong said, but not unheard of.