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The Bug Blog

The Warrior Ants
Friend and Foe?

April 14, 2017
by Brian Olson, CEO, the bugman

Megaponera analis, or the “Warrior Ant” lives by the Soldier Creed, Leave No Man Behind. These “Warrior Ants” hunt and eat termites. Scouts will probe the battlefield, find a group of termites, and then return to their base to assemble the troops. According to a report published in the journal, Science Advances, these “Warrior Ants” march out in a snake-like formation 200 to 500 strong, then attack the termites. The battle is gruesome but quick only lasting around 20 minutes. Termites are lying dead on the ground as the “Warriors” begin to collect them, bringing the termites back to their home base. Unfortunately there are some casualties of this battle, injured ants with broken limbs from the hard fought battle. Their comrades carry them back to their home base, and help aid them back to health or even pull off the jaws of the termites that have clamped onto their legs. In brief time the ant is nursed back to health and ready for battle again. Unlike humans though, this leave no man behind attitude is not because of empathy, but from a chemical signal the injured ants release. Like humans though, the idea of power in numbers is essential for these ants and helping their fellow comrades is imperative for them to win!!

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