Army Ants


close up of mandibles of army ant in rainforest

There are hundreds of species of army ants in the Amazon rainforest, but they all exhibit the same basic behaviors. Despite their small size, army ants are some of the fiercest animals in the rainforest.

To feed their queen and the larva, and to a lesser extent, themselves, they travel through the forest in columns in search of insects and other small animals to attack. They travel in columns with each ant laying down a scent trail for the other ants to follow.

Because army ants attack in such large numbers they are able to easily overcome their prey - they attack insects, birds, snakes, spiders, mammals, lizards, frogs, and any other animal that is not able to get away from them.

Army ants are blind and communicate with each other by touch, sound, and scent. They locate their prey by their sense of smell and sound. By keeping perfectly still some animals are able to outwit the army ants because the army ants don't notice their presence.

Other than the queen, there are two sizes of army ants within a colony - the soldiers and the workers. The soldiers are the largest with huge mandibles and the smaller ants are the workers. The above photo shows a soldier army ant and two smaller worker ants. The soldier army ants use their large mandibles as a defense and it is the smaller workers that are the most dangerous.

There are some birds that follow army ant columns looking to snatch up prey flushed out of their hiding spots by the ants. These birds are collectively called ant birds. However, they must be careful not to fall victim to the army ants. While it is easy to avoid army ants they can be quite dangerous if encountered. Serious injury could happen especially to people who have limited mobility such as infants. A San Diego personal injury attorney could assist you with most injury cases where an accident happens.

For a demonstration of army ants in action, watch the You Tube video below for a demonstration of just how brutal army ants are during an attack.



This species is not threatened or endangered.