Army Ant

Characteristics

Army ants are huge ants, with the soldiers reaching a half inch in length. Its body consists of a head, abdomen and thorax. The head of this ant has its eyes, mouth and antennae. However, this ant is blind and rely mostly on their sense of smell and touch to communicate. They also use trail pheromones and chemical messaging to communicate.
The female workers are mostly infertile. Their task is to forage for food. The smaller ant soldiers tend to the queen’s eggs, while the soldier ant defends the colony and protect the queen.

Habitat

These ants do not make a permanent home, but migrate to find food. They do create nests out of themselves. In order for them to protect the queen and her brood, the workers will create walls by fastening onto each other with the use of their mandibles. They can create enclosed, but very structured nest. Their nest even has corridors to let the ants transport food and eggs to the different portions of the nest.

Food

Army ants are considered dangerous since they will eat anything and everything in their path. They are known to consume up to 100,000 animals per day if they are given the chance. Most of their victims, however, are snakes, chickens, lizards, pigs, goats, tarantulas, scorpions, cockroaches, beetles, goats, and so on.

Life Cycle

Their colony is made up of a queen, soldier, and multi-purpose worker ants. The main purpose of the queen is to lay eggs that are about 100,000 to 300,000 eggs in just five to ten days. Their colony starts with a stationary phase and a nomadic phase. To start her colony the queen will need to produce 55,000 to 65,000 eggs as she stays stationary for two to four weeks. Once these eggs develop into mature eggs, adult workers will emerge. The nomadic phase begins as the colony grows.

With the growing size of the colony, the army ant will need to emigrate daily. The queen will still lay eggs, although they are travelling. The army ant will just stop for a while when the queen lay her eggs. They will travel back again, and the growing larvae will be carried by the workers.

The queen can live up to 20 years if the conditions are favorable. Her workers can live to up to a year. Male ants mostly die after mating with the queen. But, because she can reproduce very quickly, her colony can also survive together with her for up to 20 years, until the time she dies.

Other Information and Tips

Army ants have been accidentally introduced into the United States from South America. They will feed on anything and are known aggressive as they always consider of being attacked, or their queen is in danger. If you think you found army ants near your premises make sure to call a professional exterminator for help.


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