Friday, October 15, 2010

Army ants!

In the event you haven't seen army ants (Genus most likely Eciton) in action, prepare to be amazed! They are quite readily found in the forests around Chan Chich Lodge and Gallon Jug Estate. We came across this massive swarm on the move and completely covering the trail. So much so that we decided to turn back rather than risk painful bites. Army ants don't maintain a permanent nest -- they are constantly on the move and there are more than 200 species of them, throughout both the New and Old World tropics. The swarming behavior is one form of foraging for the small invertebrates that comprise their diet.

I've uploaded this 9-second video twice so you can get an idea of how impressive this massive swarm was. However, I'm having trouble playing it back ... but that could just be me because of our slow connect time. Maybe it's fine?? I'm posting a still photo below, in the event that others have problems with the video as well -- although I must say, the video is a lot more impressive!