Saturday, July 07, 2007

Army ants

Everything seems to be on the move. I saw several dead snakes on the roads this week and now I see army ants moving about by the millions. On the dirt road to the Bosque yesterday I could see them streaming across the road in such numbers they appeared as black streaks on the red clay fill dirt from quite a distance away. At the point where I took this picture there were actually several separated streams of ants, all moving in the same direction. If you want a better image of the ants, click in on the thumbnail pix. You'll see that in the middle of the crowd that there's dinner being transported to the queen and her crowd. Army ants don't have permanent nests, they bivouac it from day to day as they scourer the environment for anything that moves, including snakes. They are carnivorous. I suspect that they would dissect a person, if he/she stayed in one place long enough. I'm sure that's never happened but ... other varmints of the forest get out of the way fast, if they can. The only time the ants stay in one place for a few days is when the queen is laying eggs. I saw this once. It's a real show. Untold number of ants join "hands" in forming a gigantic live nest while she is laying her eggs. After the newborns are hatched, the ants break up and return to their nomadic ways.

1 comment:

GingerV said...

We also have ants on our land. they don't appear to be as aggressive as your friends, but they come in and clean all the leaves off one of my bushes (always the same one) about once every other month. The bush puts out new leaves and then they are cleaned off again, all in one night. Never have seen them during the day and am not a scientist by nature so will not camp out trying to see them in action at night.