Safari Ants (Dorylus), found in central and eastern Africa, are also known as Driver Ants, Army Ants. They can grow up to 2 centimetres (1 inch) long.
Safari Ants are red or red-black with a head, an abdomen, and a thorax. The drones are larger than the soldier ants, and the queen ant is the largest ant in the colony. Soldier Safari Ants have a large head with mandibles (jaws) that look like crab pincers. All worker Safari Ants are blind and don’t have eyes. They communicate by touch and scent (called pheromones).
Safari Ants live in large colonies, which can contain over 20 million individuals. Colonies are nomadic. They travel in a long column that travels abut 20 metres (65.5 feet) an hour. The small ants move inside the column with the large soldier ants on the outside to protect them. Large numbers of ants can kill small animals.
Safari Ants live in forests, and forage for food day and night. They feed on insect larvae, such as sugarcane borers, as well as spiders and earthworms.
Their bite is severely painful to humans, leaving two puncture wounds in the skin. Removing them is difficult, because their jaws are extremely strong.
In the mating season, alates (the winged drones) mate on the ground with a queen ant, and then die. Worker and soldier Safari Ants are female, and they are sterile and cannot have babies – only the queen ant can have babies.
The queen ant lays upt to a million eggs each month. Males leave the colony soon after hatching but they can return by following the scent.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM