50.1 MB (6.3 MB compressed)
4866 x 3597 pixels
41.1 x 30.5 cm ⏐ 16.2 x 12.0 in (300dpi)
DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Army ants (Echiton sp.) swarming over leaf litter. Army ants live in nomadic colonies that can number up to 2 million individuals. As they travel the workers form temporary nests (bivouacs), to enclose the queen and her brood, by clinging on to each other. From the bivouacs the workers go on raids to forage food for the colony. The workers are blind, but use chemical signals to find prey and communicate with each other. They are protected on these raids by soldier ants. Army ants can kill anything in their path with their powerful jaws and potent sting, including large mammals that are unable to escape them, and often clear whole areas of insects. Photographed in the Amazon rainforest, Ecuador.
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