Army Ant Week Open Thread

Eciton burchellii

Just checking in.

How are you finding Army Ant Week? A couple days remain in the ecitonine blitz, is there anything you’d like to see covered? Mistakes of mine you’d like to correct? Do you have links, photos, videos or stories to share?

Incidentally, in case today’s momentous events got you to wondering. Yes, Egypt does have army ants. Several species, in fact, of Aenictus and Dorylus.

29 thoughts on “Army Ant Week Open Thread”

    1. Thanks, Andrew.

      We don’t really know how long army ant queens live. You can’t keep them in captivity, and it’s rather tiresome to follow a single queen in the wild for years on end. Carl Rettenmeyer once recaptured an Eciton queen he’d marked 5 years earlier, so we know they can live at least that long. Beyond that? I don’t think anyone has an answer.

  1. Although I am definitely not a fully qualified myrmcologist (?!), I am fascinated by much in the world, especially when so well and entertainingly presented.

    And I now understand about ants both biting -and- stinging, which would explain the extreme unpleasantness of the experience.

    You are a brave man, and a great photographer. :}

  2. Great posts. As another link to Egypt, some of the night photos of protesters in Tahrir square remind me of circular milling in army ants. Now for a question: given the pervasive nature of army ants in the tropics, what sort of defenses have their prey evolved to avoid being eaten?

  3. I really enjoy these themed posts. I saw them eating some spider this week over here. I wonder if army ants are carnivorous. Are those “European” ants in my garden herbivores? I know they don’t bite me!

  4. Somehow I got it in my head that not all army ants migrate long and vast distances. Is it true that some of the smaller or lesser known species, that are more subterranean perhaps, actually don’t migrate more than say a common Formica rufa colony budding?

  5. A suggestion I have is to go over a general overview of army ants(for those of us not totally immersed in them).

    How do army ants start new colonies? Do they do so when a new queen buds off from an already existing colony(I think I read that somewhere)? And if this is true, what happens? Do they just go separate ways(how do they disperse?)?

  6. Marc "Teleutotje" Van der Stappen

    Army Ant Week is fantastic!

    Although I know it is mostly about New World species, I have two questions:

    1) Do you have more info about Cheliomyrmex?
    2) How about the subgenera of Dorylus?

    Keep up the good work Alex!!!

  7. I’m still loving every bit of Army Ant Week. And putting together more than a week’s worth of material on such a little-studied but interesting group is quite an accomplishment, Alex.

    And it was very nice that we finally were able to establish our underground military myrmecological government in Egypt, finally. The media knew that the army was the key to Egyptian government all along, but they didn’t know how right they were. 😉

    When you finish reading this comment, your memory from the last 25 seconds will be wiped. Thank you for your cooperation.

  8. I was wondering if there are any examples of army ants evolving to take advantage of human-altered ecosystems.

    I thought the Army Ant Death Spiral post was completely fascinating.

  9. I think it’s great to dedicate an entire week to just one group of ants, especially for those of us with busy schedules and busier newsfeeds who are already jumping from topic to topic faster than they can properly absorb.

    Let’s have another “X ant” week after this!

    Question: Where does the name Eciton come from?

    1. perhaps from this pub but attributed apparently to this ‘scientist’

      Latreille P. A. 1804 – Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière des Crustacés et des Insectes. 12: 424 impr. de F. Dufart, Paris (France).

      if you can find a copy someplace you can verify this.

  10. The Army ant week is fantastic! This week I caught myself several times thinking of “what I’ll be waiting for me on myrmecos today”.
    I’d like to know if there is any morphological trait that army ants’ males have in comon. Couldn’t the sausage-like style be considered one of the characteristics of the army ant syndrome? How looks like an Eciton male?

  11. Pingback: Army Ants: Reader Questions Answered, And Not Answered – MYRMECOS - Insect Photography - Insect Pictures

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