Army ants (Eciton sp.) swarming on forest floor

Army ants (Eciton sp.) swarming on forest floor

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Credit: WILLIAM ERVIN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Army ant swarm. View of a swarm of army ants (Eciton sp.) migrating over a rainforest floor. These aggressive insects stage massive raids in pursuit of arthropod prey. The majority of the swarm are worker ants. The large soldiers (pale heads) have massive jaws used to tear prey to pieces. Army ants have no permanent nest, but make temporary "bivouacs". When eggs are laid by the queen, the ants return to the same bivouac each night until the eggs hatch. The colony then enters a nomadic phase while the larvae are developing; the nomadic phase ends when the larvae pupate and the next generation of eggs are laid. Photographed in La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica.

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Keywords: animal, ant, army, army ant, army ant swarm, army ants, cooperation, costa rica, eciton sp., forest floor, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, of army ants, soldier, swarm, wildlife, zoology

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