Learn more about the Army ant – with amazing Army ant videos, photos and facts on Arkive. Eciton burchellii are terrestrial, although colonies may occasionally bivouac ( temporarily nest) in trees several meters above ground. Army ants need very humid. Eciton burchellii swarms are largely diurnal, whereas other Eciton species may also be found hunting at night. Eciton burchellii swarms take a broad range of.

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The colony lives in bivouacswhich are routinely moved as the foraging paths change. This allows for smaller prey to take shelter in the crevices of the leaf litter to hide from the oncoming ants.

Eciton burchellii, the swarm raider

This noise, more or less continuous, beats on the ears of an observer until it acquires a distinctive meaning almost as the collective death rattle of the countless victims. After this new virgin queen has mated and the new colony begins to increase in numbers, it becomes its own full fledged colony, and workers from each colony no longer recognize each other and will fight members of the other as if they had never been related.

As the pressure builds, the mass flows outward in all directions. Although insect types comprising the Eciton burchellii diet vary slightly between wet and dry seasons, it is consistently diverse and high in fat. Primary caretakers of broods are called minims, and tend to be smaller sized ants. Among a series of males from Monteverde, which is close to the zone of contact of the two forms, one had long setae on one half of the scutellum and the other half was bare differing across a sagittal plane.

In Eciton burchelliialong with other large-colony ant species, the alarm pheromone is produced in mandible glands. Also, individuals who are outbound, turn to avoid the inbound ants more frequently, giving the prey-burdened ants the right-of-way on the trail. Retrieved from ” https: It is quite possible that the cycle was put in place genetically and is kept there through natural selection by the advantage it gives in overcoming food shortages.


See How to Cite AntWeb. The nomadic phase is better called the migratory phase, since army ants are migratory hunters rather than nomads in the strict sense. Or perhaps the best vertebrate analogy: Two colonies overfed with prey emigrated on only 28 percent of the days during the migratory phase of the cycle, while two underfed colonies emigrated on 62 percent of the migratory days.

Franks, ; Holldobler and Wilson, ; Schneirla, As they gather to form the bivouac, they link their legs and bodies together with their strong tarsal claws, forming chains and nets of their own bodies that accumulate layer upon interlocking layer until finally the entire worker force comprises a solid cylindrical or ellipsoidal mass up to a meter across.

Also, the monthly migrations of these ant populations help spur enhanced gene flow and eliminate the harmful effects of small breeding population sizes.

This interesting subject does not seem likely to resist sustained experimental study; any such effort in the future is likely to yield exceptionally interesting results.

Accessed February 09, at http: Even when the sexual larvae are still very young, a large fraction of the worker force burcjellii affiliated with the brood as opposed to the mother queen. Ection submajor workers are a specialized prey-carrying caste. A large colony size, coupled with their daytime above-ground raids, have led to this noticeable ant also being one of the best studied army ant species.

Eciton burchellii – AntWiki

Ecitonn using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The minimas and medias, bearing shorter, clamp-shaped mandibles, are the generalists. She concluded that the labial glands are “probably” producing a pheromone that excites the worker. Since army ant queens are wingless, workers bond to the queen through chemical scents as they care for her while still in the parent colony.

Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends.

In short, the colony enters buurchellii migratory phase. That is, the old queen herself falls victim to the sealing-off operation, leaving both of the two daughter colonies with new virgin queens.


All New World army ants employ retinues during emigrations ready to react this way. Most of the shelter for the queen and immature forms is provided by the bodies of the workers themselves.

Mandibles The pair of mouthparts most commonly used for seizing and cutting food, common to the centipedes, burvhellii and insects. For long intervals the only birds you might hear are in the distance and mostly in the canopy.

File:Eciton burchellii army ants.jpg

Those workers left with larvae showed much greater continuous activity. By filling these obstacles, the ants greatly increase the overall prey-laden traffic back to the nest. By nightfall the ants are back in the bivuoac, where, depending on the development burchllii their larvae, they either regroup to march to a new burcheplii site by morning, or they stay put and launch a new raid in a different direction the following day.

However, the males also exhibit a difference. By the time the larvae are nearly mature, the bivouac can be found to consist of two approximately equal zones: Williamsfor example, noted a sharp depletion of the arthropods at spots on the forest floor where a swarm had struck the previous day.

Temperature has been found to be the largest contributing factor to whether or not a swarm will cross into the open from a forest edge. However, Eciton burchellii does not construct a physical nest.

In insects, “incomplete metamorphosis” is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and “complete metamorphosis” burvhellii when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. This presumably happens most often when the health and attractive power of the old queen begin to fail prior to colony fission. Eciton burchellii is specifically known to have relationships with Euxenister beetles which live in the nest, travel with the bivouac, groom adult workers, and indiscriminately feed off booty and broods Akre