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I got a error when using your email address email@example.com. Below I included the article that I wanted to send you. You’re welcome to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for Photos of the Ants
I write about encounters in the wild while in different training Camps in Africa (Safari Guide training Camps for the industry)
Matabele raiding party
While out on a walk at the Selati EcoTraining Bush Camp in South Africa the other day we came across a Matabele ant raiding party. The girls were following the trail laid down by one of their scouts and were on their way to the termite nest. As we watched them they came into contact with the termites. The termites were foraging out in the open which is unusual. The Matabele ants went about their attack with surprising calm. Within seconds of starting to sting and collect the termites the Matabeles came across a column of fire ants that were raiding the termites from the other side. I was expecting a full scale battle to develop but I was in for a disappointment. Whenever a Matabele ant encountered a fire ant the Matabele ant would pick the fire ant up and then drop it. There was no intent of killing or fighting at all. The fire ants had a similar non aggressive policy toward their larger cousins. When they encountered the Matabele they would stand with open jaws, make contact and then move off without biting or stinging. The Matabele ants did however steal termites from the fire ants. The fire ants tried to hold on for a while but had to eventually let go. There were very few aggressive incidents between the two species. We saw two fire ants that had grabbed Matabele ants by the leg. The Matabele ants were dragging the fire ants off with them. It was quite comical to watch but one is inspired to ask the question, Why would these individuals actually bite the larger ants?
The termites were the ones getting the raw deal out of this encounter.
Two columns of Matabele ants that meet at a termite colony will have a full on battle between themselves and murder is the order of the day.
We were loading rock for a soak away today. When we rolled one of the rocks over we exposed a Matabele bivouac. As can be expected they were immediately on the war path. Under the next rock was a nest of spotted sugar ants. When they were exposed they also went ballistic. The two species were now running around looking for the perpetrators. All contact between the two species was merely accidental and there was no aggression between them. Wow!
When ants are out foraging they walk right over or under other species without too much ado. A short contact to ascertain that the other is not a threat, or food and off they go in their respective directions. The best I’ve seen is three sizes of ant using the same piece of ground.
There was an encounter between a Matabele ant and an ant-lion larva. When the ant was bitten other ants came to its rescue. Is there an ant plot to co-operate against all other types of life? I hope not!.
• Word count: 250 – 750 (Word Document)
• Images (1-2 / GIF, JPG, PNG)
These are unpaid entries, although, excellent for your portfolio.