Location: Masai Mara, Kenya
December 23, 2010 1:27 pm
I’ve found no Safari ants (Dorylus sp.) on your page, and they’re a very prevalent genus here in East Africa.
They’re known as Siafu in swahili, and also called Army ants for their long uniform columns.
Whenever it rains, they come out in force, forming long, thick columns in search of food.
Their soldier class have fearsome mandibles that can be used as emergency sutures if no other alternative is available. There are anecdotal reports of young or sick people dying from attacks by these ants, but I’ve never seen any hard evidence. Its not completely unbelievable, though when you see how fast they cover you if you step in the middle of their column by mistake!
I once watched a 12cm centipede get completely overwhelmed when it accidentally ran through a group of these ants. It was only a matter of minutes before there was nothing left of the centipede!
Sorry there are no clear pictures. They move too fast my my camera’s shutter at that proximity.
Thanks again for sending us photos that fill a void in our archives. You action photos of Army Ants and your personal eye witness account are valued contributions to our website. Your photos also illustrate the size discrepancies between the various worker castes in the colony.
The very large ants with the very large heads are soldiers. The picture doesn’t display their huge mandibles very clearly, but there are a few other sites on the internet that do.