The Army Ant

The Kid Should See This

For over a hundred million years, there’s been an epic “World War of the Ants” occurring across the planet, above and below ground, high up in trees, hidden within the leaf litter, from the forests of the Cretaceous period to the cracks in today’s city sidewalks.

ant conflict
Kurzgesagt takes a closer look at one of these warring factions in World War Ant: The Army Ant, their first in a series of information-filled ant animations. From Wikipedia:

The name army ant (or legionary ant or marabunta) is applied to over 200 ant species in different lineages. Due to their aggressive predatory foraging groups, known as “raids”, a huge number of ants forage simultaneously over a certain area…

The whole colony of army ants can consume up to 500,000 prey animals each day, so can have a significant influence on the population, diversity, and behaviour of their prey. The prey selection differs with the species. Underground species prey primarily on ground-dwelling arthropods and their larvae, earthworms, and occasionally also the young of vertebrates, turtle eggs, or oily seeds. A majority of the species, the “colony robbers”, specialize in the offspring of other ants and wasps.

army ant
leaf ant nest
Related photos: Alex Wild’s gallery of North American ants.

TKSST has a lot of ant videos. Start with these: Longhorn ‘Crazy Ants’ work erratically/cooperatively to carry loads, Driver ants build a new home and move their queen, The Incredible Physics of Ants, and why do Leafcutter Ants cut leaves and carry them away?

Bonus: Why 10 Daily Tons of Ant Poop Keep This Rainforest Thriving.

Rion Nakaya