Atta sp: The Last Stand

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Atta sp: The Last Stand

Photo by Scott Powell
Website: Ant Insights

In this image, a large Atta major has been isolated from her comrades and is desperately fighting for her life against hordes of Nomamyrmex army ants.

Nomamyrmex army ants attack Atta colonies en masse, pouring into the Atta nest and looting it if the Atta majors cannot mount a valiant defense of their nest. Mature Atta colonies are relatively immune to the ravages of these ant hordes, but young Atta colonies, who do not possess enough major workers to repel the invaders, are more easily sacked. In one study of this conflict, the major workers of six (6) Atta colombica nests poured from their nests and repelled attacking army ants, but an Atta cephalotes nest was not so lucky and was overrun by the invaders.

Powell, S. & Clark, E. 2004. Combat between large derived societies: A subterranean army ant established as a predator of mature leaf-cutting ant colonies. Insectes Sociaux, 51: 342-351.

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