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Army ant raid or wrong turn?

- by Tim Linksvayer (Morosophomyrmex) In AntFarm Board (July/27/2001)

In 1996 I observed an army ant raid of an Atta cephalotes colony. I did not collect any of the army ants unfortunately. I remember them as being fairly monomorphic, black, and about the size of a media A. cephalotes.

A column of perhaps a few hundred army ants went into the Atta nest (this was a large nest too - we only collected data at large active nests) and a couple minutes later the raiding column came pouring out along with several dozen Atta majors. The Atta soldiers grabbed some of the army ants but most of them seemed to have made it out in one piece. Within a few more minutes the army ants were gone. The whole thing happened pretty quickly but it was extremely cool... I was just getting really into ants during that trip too!

I've also observed Paraponera clavata killing Atta cephalotes foragers. This was described in an article (animal behaviour?) by Jim Wetterer a few years ago but I think in general its pretty rare. The leafcutters were apparently foraging on a tree that the P. clavata were nesting under. Over the course of several hours I think there were only ~10 leafcutting ants killed though.

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