Location: Islamabad, Pakistan
May 6, 2014 1:33 pm
I did not know how else to ask: where is your Paypal link? I think you do great work and understand that it costs money. I also understand (as you say on the site) that donating does not increase my chances of getting a letter answered. That is fine, small staff means slower/fewer responses. Fair enough.
You very kindly answered my first post (Pakistan centipede, unnecessary carnage) a few days ago. But your website is fascinating and user-friendly. Best of all, it returns personalized responses.
I will keep visiting. And donate something small, whenever I can. I am submitting shots of an unknown insect from yesterday. Is something pretty common, but I do not know what it is. Thank you!
Ali S. Pracha
Our PayPal donation link is located in a goldenrod colored banner at the top of our webpage and any donation you are able to provide is greatly appreciated.
This creature is a male Driver Ant in the genus Dorylus, commonly called a Sausage Fly, and when we first received an image from Israel last year, we were quite puzzled, though at least we had the insect order correct. According to Alex Wild on his Diversity of Insects website: “Dorylus
is an African and Asian genus of nomadic predatory ants. The surface-foraging species conduct spectacular raids and are often referred to as driver or safari ants.” According to Myrmecos: “Most people who see Africa’s ‘sausage flies’ wouldn’t pick that they are actually ants. In fact, these monstrous insects are males of the common Dorylus driver ants. They fly at night to gain a chance to mate with a queen from another colony.” Discover Life has some excellent technical drawings and images. According to FerreBeeKeeper: “One of the strangest and most alarming creatures on the planet is the driver ant. Driver ants belong to the genus Dorylus which is comprised of about 60 species. In the larger Dorylus species, each worker ant is only half a centimeter long. The soldier ants which guard the hive are a mere 1.5 centimeters. Males, which can fly, are 3 centimeters long and the queen, the largest of the ants, is from 5 to 8 centimeters long. These are not the sort of sizes that allow one to play professional football, so what makes Dorsylus ants so fearsome? Well, there are lots of them. Driver ants form the largest colonies of all the social insects. They live in hives numbering more than 20 million individuals, all born by one single queen. When marching or foraging, these hives can overrun and overpower much larger animals and generally everything that can do so gets out of their way (including mighty elephants).” The site also states: “Male driver ants fly away from the colony very soon after birth. If a colony of foraging driver ants comes across a male ant they rip off his wings and take him to mate with a virgin queen (after which he dies). The queen ant then lays 1 to 2 million eggs per month for the remainder of her life.” We suspect you are familiar with with wingless worker Driver Ants, but that you have not connected them to these unusual winged Sausage Flies.