The Safari Ant (Dorylus) is an insect. It is also known as the Driver Ant and Army Ant.
The Safari Ant is red or red-black with a head, an abdomen, and a thorax. The drone is larger than the soldier ant, and the queen ant is the largest ant in the colony. The soldier Safari Ant has 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).
It can grow up to 2 centimetres (1 inch) long.
The Safari Ant is native to central Africa and Eastern Africa.
The Safari Ant lives in large colonies, which can contain over 20 million individuals. Colonies are nomadic. They travel in a long column that travels about 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.
The Safari Ant lives in forests, and forage for food day and night. It feeds on insect larvae, such as sugarcane borers, as well as spiders and earthworms.
Its bite is severely painful to humans, leaving two puncture wounds in the skin. Removing the ant is difficult, because its jaws are extremely strong.
In the mating season, alates (the winged drones) mate on the ground with a queen ant, and then dies. 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 up to a million eggs each month. Males leave the colony soon after hatching but they can return by following the scent.
[Location of photographs: Nairobi, Kenya]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM