015 - Army Ants

posted Mar 4, 2015, 7:26 AM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:04 PM ]

Army Ants

Up close with army ants we even test out their ability to bite and sting.

Using powerful macro equipment and a microscope we get a unique look and this tiny subterranean predator. We watch them marching in columns, dismembering a beetle, attacking Marc, linking themselves together, floating on water and again biting the crap out of Marc.

We get a few under the microscope to look at the tiny hairs on their bodies, check if they have eyes or not, and discover a feature of ants that not many people may know about. 

Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae 
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Cheliomyrmex
Species: megalonyx

Apparently from my research this species of Army ant is very rare we are lucky enough to see these ants on the surface two or three times a year in our gardens in Ecuador.
They are small, blind, aggressive and pack a powerful sting. We have observed a reduction in the number of leaf cutter ants in the area after Cheliomyrmex ants have been sighted. Perhaps they are specialist hunters of other ant species which is certainly the case with other types of army ants.

Main references:

Japanese webiste with great photos: http://sangetuki.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-74.html