There are not so many dangerous ants in the world. But, like with other animals, in human fear, the eyes are really great: frightening stories about killer ants have become real legends for fans to tickle their nerves on the sofa under the blanket.
However, dangerous ants do exist. In a strict scientific language, they, of course, are not called "killer ants", their biologists call it differently:
- nomadic ants from both the Black Continent and South America
- the so-called ant-bullet, whose biting morbidity exceeds that of a chemical burn of moderate severity
- Australian bulldog ants, whose bite can be fatal to a sensitive person
- a fiery red ant , so named for its ability to sting very painfully.
On a note
For individuals with a very acute allergic reaction to insect bites, each of the above ants can become a killer. Moreover, there are isolated cases of suffocation and deadly intoxication of a person from the bite of just one ordinary red ant! Of course, these are exceptional incidents, and because of them it is incorrect to call all ants deadly dangerous.
About those species that knowledgeable people are really afraid of, you should talk more.
Nomadic ants (siafu)
"All the living things that get in the way of the column or in the zone where the soldiers infiltrated were immediately destroyed. With powerful curved jaws, soldiers grabbed beetles, caterpillars, spiders, worms, other ants, larvae, lice, tore them and carried them to the column. If the prey was larger - a lizard, a snake, a mouse or a bird that could not fly up, the ants piled on a black moving mass, and very soon the animal ceased to exist ...
... The ants passed, leaving only the bones of trying to save the rats and forgotten in the shed chickens ... "
A. Tambiev, Living ways of the planet
The specificity of these ants lies in the fact that they do not have an anthill, but they multiply in temporary bivouacs, formed by the working ants themselves, seizing each other's jaws. Such a bivouac has the shape of a ball and seems completely chaotic, but in reality there is a clear order in it. Part of their lives colony of these ants roams in search of food, for which they received their name.
Ants soldiers of all kinds of nomadic ants look awesome: their jaws are larger than the head itself, and insects themselves are very large - up to a half centimeters long has an ant-soldier. But the female of African nomadic ants is really huge: with a body length of up to 5 cm during the egg laying phase, it is the largest of the now known ants.
It is interesting
The females of nomadic ants establish another unique record: during the breeding season, they can lay aside up to 130,000 eggs a day. This fecundity is not observed in any other insect.
African ants killers are not. The danger of nomadic ants in general is greatly exaggerated. Their bites are really extremely painful and can cause severe allergic reactions. Getting into the center of such a colony can lead to serious bites.
However, cases of death of people from nomadic ants are not known. Moreover, the basis of the ration of these ants are other insects, and only a very small number of small vertebrates die from them - lizards, frogs, birds nestlings.
It is interesting
The life of African nomadic ants (another name is Siaafa) is closely related to the biology of some birds. For example, the ration of an eye-shaped ant is more than half of the insects scared off by the moving colony of these ants. Not surprisingly, most of the life these birds accompany the colony of nomadic ants as food sources.
Wandering killer ants are nothing more than a figment of the rich imagination of authors of adventure stories (Russian forest ants are no less bloodthirsty and as actively destroy other insects of comparable size), and the stories of devastated villages and skeletons gnawed in seconds are nothing more than a literary thickening of paints .
These ants received their name for the terrible pain of bites: in their poison one of the most powerful toxins in the world of insects is poneratoxin. Acute pain after an ant bite is felt for at least 24 hours, for which this species was also called "ant 24 hours."
According to the special scale of Schmidt's pain, the pain from stinging by these ants reaches the highest fourth level and surpasses that of burns and bites of any other insects.
The ant bullet is one of the largest ants in general: the length of a working individual is 2-2.5 cm, females - up to 3 cm.
They live in South America, and some Indian tribes are used for a terrible ritual of male initiation: a boy on his arm puts on a sleeve with attached to him live ants.
After such a test, the hands for a few days can be paralyzed, lose sensitivity and blacken.
Black bulldog ants
These ants are large enough, but if it were not for their bites, they would hardly have been particularly famous. According to statistics, in Tasmania from their bites of bulldog ants every year more people die than from attacks of sharks, poisonous spiders and snakes combined.
The bite of a black bulldog ant causes an acute allergic reaction in humans - more than 3% of bitten people are in a state of anaphylactic shock.
In this case, one can never foresee in advance how the organism reacts to the bite of this insect: active substances in it differ from those of other related insects - wasps and bees - and even a person normally reacting to bee stings can become a victim of these ants.
It is noteworthy that evolutionarily ants bulldogs are very primitive. Perhaps, this is the reason for their strong virulence.
Fiery red ant
Fiery ants are considered the most dangerous ants in general. And not so much because of the strong poison and extremely painful bite, but because of its ability to get accustomed to the new conditions, quickly spread around the world and violate the stability of many biocenoses.
The original homeland of fiery ants is Brazil, but on merchant ships these insects successfully moved to the south of the US, to Australia and China. Today they are diligently struggling also in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan, but success so far is on the side of the ants.
When you bite, a fiery ant enters poison into the wound with toxin contained in it, saline. On the Schmidt scale, the pain from the bites of a red fire ant is the same as the pain from a fire burn, which was the reason for the name of the insect. Around the world, several thousand people bites these insects every year and several deaths from anaphylactic shock: almost all bite have an acute allergic reaction.
Suffer from the bites of these insects and animals, both domesticated and wild. According to estimates, the US fire budget causes an annual damage of $ 5 billion, including costs for medical care and veterinary care.
It is interesting
The red fire ant is considered one of the most dangerous invasive insects in the world: it takes root in most places that gets into a person, and because of aggressive behavior greatly influences the structure of biological populations in places of introduction.
It should be remembered that all ants, regardless of the degree of danger to humans, are necessary for the biocenosis in which they originally inhabit nature. Almost all ants are excellent fighters with plant pests, and the same wandering ants also very effectively cleanse the path of their displacements from any dying and sick animals. Therefore, the concept of "dangerous" and "harmful" is not to be confused, and even to particularly terrible insects should be treated as important participants in interrelated processes in nature.