What is a Narrow-headed Ant?
They may be small, but these ants have an important role in the heathland where they live - affecting soils, seed banks, and the other wildlife around them.
Sadly, the narrow-headed ant is now very rare, with just one population in England, in South Devon, and without urgent action we could lose it altogether.
Why are they in trouble?
Losses of heathland to development, disturbance, scrubbing over of habitats and to commercial forestry, have all played a part. The ants cannot move very far, so populations on tiny patches of habitat become inbred. There are a number of different influences on the raising of queens, dispersal and generating new nests, which are not fully understood.
How we will help the Narrow-headed Ant
This Back from the Brink project, led by Buglife, will monitor the last known English population, create more suitable habitat for the ants, and research environmental and habitat conditions needed for nesting. The aim is to establish new populations at two more sites in South Devon. We’ll work with communities, groups and individuals in all sorts of ways; from raising awareness about these rare and precious insects, to study projects to learn more about the ants, and creating more habitats for them. There will be ant-themed creative, artistic and educational activities too.
What we’re aiming for
By the end of the project, we hope the future for the Narrow-headed Ant will be more secure, with more colonies and good habitat for them to spread into. We aim to have inspired understanding and support for this mighty minibeast.
How to get involved
Can you help us with surveys, with making and looking after places for Narrow-headed Ants to live, with creative creature crafts, or by spreading the word as an ant ambassador? Find out more at our talks, walks and events.
You can get the latest news, and find out about upcoming events, by following the links below.
August 2017 - September 2020
Census and mapping of nests
90 year anniversary since first found on its last remaining site Chudleigh Knighton
July - November 2018
Trial next translocations
Narrow-headed ant returns to its former site Bovey Heathfield
Citizen science 'Nest Quest' launched
AUTUMN 2019 - SPRING 2020
New nest establishments on Bovey Heathfield and Teigngrace Meadow