The Ants Are Marching In
If you were to name the most successful animal on earth, ants would definitely be in the running. Ants come in all shapes and sizes and have conquered every habitat except for Antarctica. Scientists estimate that if you took all the organisms living in a specific area, up to twenty-five percent of the total weight would be ants. There are several common species that you’ll see every time you step outside, however, there species are so foreign that they’ll make the hair stand on the back of your neck.
They weren’t named for their shape. If you are unfortunate enough to meet a bullet ant and get stung, you’re in for a terrible twenty-four hours. Victims describe the pain as being equal to being shot by a bullet. Waves of burning and an all-consuming agony will last for a full day. People and animals have learned to stay away from Bullet Ants. The only way you’d ever have to worry about being stung, is if you decide to take a trip to the jungles of Brazil.
Driver or Siafu Ants
In the unfortunate movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Indy refers to Driver ants as ‘Big damn ants capable of eating a full grown man in minutes’. Though they can’t eat a full grown man in minutes, nor are they found in the amazon, Indy wasn’t completely wrong. Driver Ants are big and nasty. If you’re ever in Africa and see a massive trail of ants, stay back. The soldiers have massive jaws used for shearing flesh and will protect the colony at all costs. Their bite is so powerful that doctors in Africa have used them to close up wounds. Driver Ants will eat anything that is too slow to get out of their way. Farmers have a love-hate relationship with the ants. If a colony moves through a field, all the pests will be eaten and eliminated. That includes rats and mice. On the flip side, they’ll eat all your chickens and pets too.
Tree Trap Ants
If you’re a tree trap ant, ambush is your way of life. Tree trap ants create elaborate traps in the trees they call home. When an unsuspecting bug wanders past, they spring from their holes and grab the victim’s legs. Other Tree Trap ants rush in and cut the insect into small bite-sized pieces. Drawn and quartered anyone? Well, its more meat for the table.
Leaf Cutter Ants
Not all ants are painful or vicious. If you are in to gardening, you’ll love this critter. Leaf Cutter ants cut up leaves, bring them back to the nest and chew them into mush. The ants deposit the leaf past into special rooms and grow fungus. The fungus is then harvested and used to feed the colony. Leaf cutter ants are the farmers of the ant community.
Next time you’re walking down a sidewalk and see a whole bunch of ants, even if you step on them, you’ll know that there are trillions more. The ants are marching in.