Sunday, August 17, 2008

Army ants


As I stepped over a line of army ants on the trail, I noticed that they were coming from a fallen palm tree not very far away (top image). Looking closer I saw two sizable masses of ants at different openings in the rotten palm. My first thought was that the ants were bivouacking while the queen laid her eggs. As it turned out, I think they were only breaking up an overnight stop. What impressed me most were those ants with large white heads and distinctive round eyes. I assume these are guards.

3 comments:

SAPhotographs said...

Myy goodness Steven, what a mass of ants!! I have heard a lot about these ants but do not know too much about them except they are to be avoided.

mary said...

Steven,

What I nice coincidence - I was just reading Bates' description of army ants in Ega (now Tefe). Here's a link to his book: The Naturalist on the River Amazons.

I had no idea there were so many species of army ants. Bates, if I remember correctly, thought those white headed ants might be sort of sacrificial beasts. Their conspicuous heads would attract the birds, who would eat them and then find the big heads hard to digest and then would avoid such ants in the future.

I have no idea whether his idea has been tested,

Anonymous said...

you were THAT close to army ants?!?!?! careful dude!!