THE INSECTS WITH THEIR OWN MILITARY DISCIPLINE
No matter if you are fan of horror movies or not, you cant deny the popularity of those stories where killer ants are so powerful to fight off humans. That is not about entertainment but about abuse of facts to sell a product or service. Nobody is interested to watch some boring movie about scientific influence of ants and we all know that thrilling scenery is one that brings a money to Hollywood industry. After mega sharks, dangerous boars, giant spiders, it is a time for killer ants to jump back on the theatre of human fears.
There are so many cheap ideas about killer ants that change the destiny of homo sapiens. Nevertheless, the killer ants aren’t just movie fiction but more than that, they are the part of our ecosystem and very significant part of natural ambient we all live in.
There are many different species of killer ants, depending where they are located. Generally, the term “killer ants” is used for the group of very aggresive and highly-predatory ants that attack in the large group the powerless target. It is interesting to mention that deaths caused by activity of killer ants are more reported as deaths from any other predatory animals. It is not everything in the size but in the devoted unity and strategy. Those killer ants are more like special SWAT troops in the world of insects. They do not tolerate mistakes among each others and above all, they do not tolerate bothering by someone else. If you are there to annoy them or to challenge them, your fears and security will be also challenged and risked.
How we can that imagine ? If one ant is feeling bothered or annoyed, it will surely attack its enemy but it will also release the specific hormone in the air, which is like network signal to the colony that will join the battle. It may happen that 5,000 ants come to help the fellow but it is up to the numbers in the colony. Not all colonies are the big and not all are immediately mobilised. This is why is very important to know which types of killer ants live on the Earth, so to know what is to be expected. Some kind of behavioural ant psychology.
Maybe of the deadliest killer ants are the Fire ants, with very strong and pretty much painful sting. They are located all over the world and usually attack in large number. These ants are able to kill small animals and even calves and the people could die from anaphylaxis. Someone who sees dark-red ants with brown abdomen may think of them and know that one ant brings a colony, just after one bite.
Then, there are Argentine ants that are not only reserved for this country in South America but also have been introduced to the rest of the world. These insects do not hesitate to attack other ants colonies or even human settlements and they are very known to carry pathogens. One queen has about 10,000 workers and if there is another queen, they divide the colonies and invade another places. These ants are not very beneficial for ecosystem since they have destroyed many domestic insect species and empowered the rise of pests in farmlands and damage of crops and other valuable agricultural plants.
The third place come with the Bulldog ants that are exclusively Australian. There are some reports that they lived around the globe but now it is not the case. Those ants aren’t so friendly among each others and even unfriendly and really aggressive with another ants, insects, animals and humans. They use to attack bee colony or carpenter ant colony but do not hesitate to hurt humans, if necessary. Gifted with sharp vision and strong fighting skills, the Bulldog ants are not those to be joked with.
The deadliest sting in the world belong to the family of the Bullet ants. It doesn’t surprise that these ants have been portrayed in the horror movies as the one that smuggle into the airplane and kill people with no mercy. Almost like some super insect machines with bold genetic constitution and strategic way of thinking:“They are huge in size, about 1 inch long. The intense pain from the sting lasts for about 24 hours. They get their name from the fact that being bitten by them is similar to getting shot by a gun. Some young boys of South American tribes have to go through this ordeal for their initiation into manhood. These ants are woven into gloves made of leaves, which the boys wear. They have to endure the bites of these ants for up to 10 minutes. The arms of these boys quiver for almost a day and are nearly paralyzed during that time.“
If you are somewhere in Africa, do not worry that you wont see killer ants. The Siafu ants are African version of killer insects that do have a terrible hold of their jaw. It is said that you cant get rid of them when they bite unless you break their body from the jaw. They attack in colony and their colony is known to be huge. The indigenous tribes in Africa, like Maasai used those ants in the wound healing process.
What about the Yellow Crazy Ants ? They are yellow, with long legs and they are almost hectic and fanatics if their mound is disturbed. They are also not ecosystem friendly and not known to be tolerant with another species.
The final conclusion is that the category of killer ants is huge but also different within, depending on which region and ecosystem is. Majority of killer ants attack in the group, they aren’t really ecosystem and animal or human friendly and they do have some internal rules of military discipline. I am not saying that these animals do only harm to the nature because otherwise they wouldn’t be the part of the perfect environmental regulations. First of all, they aerate the soil and help oxygen comes to the roots of vegetation. They also process the different food, helping the food chain being on the level of the task. Sometimes, they do form the symbiotic relationship with flora or even fauna, using the benefits. The killer ants are not always the biggest trouble but I guess it is better living without them and hoping that their mounds are enough distanced from our own habitat. The happiest outcome is not having any issue with them and even if we see them, trying not really to encounter with them or their buddies. The life could be easier if the mutual borders are respected and kept.
2 thoughts on “KILLER ANTS: THE STRENGTH OF UNITED ARMY”
A beautiful article, as always, Sarah !
This is very educational and I’ve learned a great deal from it ! Thank you, Sarah !
Sarah’s informative and diversified article reminded me of the evolution of ants: they first emerged as a separate species c. 170 million years ago, when the flora and fauna of the planet were extremely different from now (i.e. the ants emerged in very different biogeochemical realities).
Ant species went on to colonise every land surface of the planet (originally, Antarctica was semi-tropical). Ants are able to flourish in most ecosystems, and this has been attributed to their social organisation behaviours, ability to modify habitats to their needs, sustain resources and defend territory.
In addition, their protracted co-evolution or symbiotic relationships with other organisms (e.g. specific tree species) has enhanced their ability to survive and flourish.
It is unknown why or how they separated from the wasp species they belonged to, originally. Most likely, environmental conditions caused the wasp DNA to modify and adapt; thereby, becoming a separate species.
Ants survived the catastrophic asteroid impact of c. 66 million years ago because they were both terrestrial and subterranean: they survived underground for millions of years…