Army Ant Facts

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eciton burchellii army ants

Army Ant Facts

eciton burchellii army ants

Army ant swarm

The army ants have got their names due to their hunting behavior; several thousand ants go hunting for food in a swarm. There are over 200 species of army ants. A colony may have up to half a million ants; one permanently wingless queen, workers (usually females) and males. The queen can lay 3-4 million eggs per month.




Hunters

These ants are ferocious hunters. The soldier army ants hunt prey. Using their large, strong mandibles they tear apart their prey to carry it back to the colony. Their colonies are huge, with over thousands of ants and therefore they need huge supplies of food. The army ants are always on the move to since they have to forage enough food for the whole colony.

Bivouacs

army ants bivouacs
Army ant bivouac by Geoff Gallice cc2.0

Army ants build temporary nests out of their own bodies called a bivouac. Binding onto each other using hooks and spines on their feet and their mandibles – in this way, the ants form a living nest, complete with walls and tunnels. The tunnels provide shelter and protection for the queen, eggs and the growing larvae and pupae. The workers bring the prey to the queen inside the bivouac.

What do army ants eat?

Army ants kill and consume thousands of prey a day. Mostly they feed on insects and spiders, but they sometimes even kill small mammals. With their team effort they can kill bigger animals like snakes, hens and will raid birds’ nests.

Army ants are featured in the following book:
25 Beastly Bugs and Insects




The YouTube video playlist below contains videos about army ants. Details of the videos featured are underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. World’s Deadliest – Army Ants Eat Everything by NatGeoWild
  2. Ant Army Invasion! – Wild South America – BBC by BBCWorldwide
  3. Army Ants Attack! – WILD THINGS WITH DOMINIC MONAGHAN BBC AMERICA
  4. Army Ants by NatGeoWild
  5. Army ants face off against the leafcutters by InfiniteWorld
  6. Predators – S1 Ep5 – Mass Attack – BBC

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