Eciton burchellii (featured), mostly Ecitoninae sp sp.
Found in the tropics and subtropics of Brazil, Peru and Mexico.
Normally found in hot and humid lowland tropical rain forests. Their nests are typically found at the base of tree trunks.
Mostly insects including tarantulas, scorpions, beetles and other ant species all in large amounts. The occasional mammal including frogs, snakes, lizards.
Established colonies may be found with between 150 thousand to 2 million individuals.
There are over 200 different known species of army ant. Eciton burchellii is one of the most studied species, and has typical army ants characteristics.
They are very aggressive and can tackle among some of the largest prey. They rest in temporary nests made entirely of ants 'bivouac', the queen and brood stay safe in the centre of the mass of ants.
At dawn, the workers spread out into a fan shaped swarm raiding almost all life in its way. They travel around 100 - 200 meters on their raiding days, at speeds up to 20 meters per hour. Lead workers leave a chemical trail for others to follow. Smaller workers lead the column, while the major workers protect the flanks.
The entire colony can relocate to a new nesting site when they need a fresh food supply. Army ant colonies move in such large numbers that they can be heard marching along the forest floors. Some workers connect together to make 'ant bridges' so that the army can flow faster over cracks, holes and even flowing streams.
The drone ants are known as ‘sausage ants’ because of their large size and sausage shape.
Army ant queens are born without wings. They are large queens that change size depending if she is relocating to a new nest or not. She can lay up to 30,000 eggs each day. The queen and her colony can live between 10-20 years. Monogyn (one queen per colony).
Risk level 3
Army ants are aggressive, and have a very strong bite. They have a serious impact on the native insects that cross thier paths.