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The Endless War Between Ants And Termites | Phoenix Pest Control

Termites are prey animals that have evolved to avoid confrontations with predators, as opposed to fighting predators. Of course, termites do possess features that allow them to violently defend their territory, but these defensive measures often claim the lives of termites themselves. For example, when termites are being bombarded by insect invasions within their nests, some termite species can self-destruct in order to kill all nearby insect invaders. It is rare to see a termite crawl away from a violent conflict with a predator. Ants are easily one of the most threatening termite predators, and large battles between these two insects are common. It has long been known that Matabele ants are constantly on the lookout for termite prey, but a recent study has revealed that these ants make use of a clever predatory tactic that no other termite predator has ever demonstrated.

Termites and ants are constantly indulging in warfare at the Comoé National Park in Côte d’Ivoire. Erik Frank, a postdoctoral researcher from the University of Lausanne in Switzerland has recently conducted a study on the warfare tactics used by Matabele ants during their predatory hunts for term

ites. Matabele ant colonies contain scout-ants that search for termite nests. Once these scout-ants locate a termite nest, they promptly report back to their colonies. At this point Matabele ants plan their invasion.

Matabele ants are significantly larger than termites, but they do not owe their predatory success to their size, but to their speed. As it turns out, termites can successfully escape Matabele ant attacks most of the time. Once the ants attack a termite nest, the termites are quick to flee to another location where food is available. When it comes to traveling to a food source, ants always take the shortest route, but due to rough terrain, the shortest route is not always the fastest. Matabele ants are the first ants to demonstrate a different traveling method; instead of taking the shortest route to termites, these ants have learned to take the fastest route. According to data, this method saves traveling time by thirty five percent. Matabele ants developed this method of hunting solely to catch speedy termites.

Do you know of any other insect species that have developed more advanced methods of foraging?

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