Army Ant Myth

People love to write and believe sensationalist drivel about army ants. The internet is full of made-up ‘facts’ that suggest they can eat chickens, pigs, even people, that everything living flees from their advance etc etc. In fact, the best known species of army ant, Eciton burchellii doesn’t eat meat, never touches carrion, and a swarm will turn and run from a stamped foot or human breath. Its behaviour is still utterly extraordinary, and is an ant filmmakers dream - because it lives most of its life in the open where it can be seen. In this photo, a coordinated team of four ants cooperate to carry a centipede carcass.

There are other species of army ant that are much less pleasant to work with. Labidus and Dorylus are two genera of more aggressive ants that will attack livestock if it is caged or tied. But even for them, stripping a mouse to the bone would take a day. Disposing of a chicken is entirely out of their league.

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