Army Ants Essay Research Paper Army AntsAnthony

Army Ants Essay, Research Paper Army Ants Anthony Palmieri November 20, 1996 Contemporary Science Topics A quote made by Lewis Thomas, “Ants are so much like human beings as to

Army Ants Essay, Research Paper

Army Ants

Anthony Palmieri

November 20, 1996

Contemporary Science Topics

A quote made by Lewis Thomas, “Ants are so much like human beings as to

be an embarrassment. They farm fungus, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies

into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, and exchange

information ceaselessly. They do everything but watch television.” I am going

to focus this report on the part of the quote, “..launch armies into war..,”

which sets a metaphor of ants and our armies in today’s society. Ants have many

tactics, so to speak, that are similar to the way our armies have when going to


Ants have many different roles in their society. One of the main roles

that army ants or soldier ants have is that they forage in masses for food.

These masses of ants travel together and are able to overcome and capture other

social insects and large anthropoids, they may occasionally kill larger animals

but they do not eat them. As the need for food for the larvae increases, food

gathering raids become more intense.

The hunting raids made by ants are carried out by “armies” of thousands

of ants and set out from the bivouac in various directions. They form two or

three parties going out simultaneously in different directions for 100 yards or

more. In the U.S. army we attack countries in different areas to weaken the

force we are attacking. We send out thousands of troops in various directions

and try to surround the source of the location being attacked. For instance, if

there are several locations that needed to be attacked to weaken the enemy, like

their weapon storage or air force base, we send several sets of troops to attack

each individual location. This is very similar to the way army ants set out on a

hunting raid. They will send out thousands of ants at once in two or three

different directions.

When ants go out on their raids, a subgroup called Dorgline ants, walk

along margins of the trails as though protecting the smaller individuals in the

center. Dorglines are large soldiers that broaden the trail where it follows a

narrow ledge of bark and twigs or smooth the path where it crosses a rough plate

and they do this with their own body. They do this because footing for the large

ants is better along the margins than in the midst of dense mass of scurrying


When the army wants to invade or occupy a county, they usually will set

up aircraft carriers in the surrounding oceans and set up air forces in

neighboring countries. They do this to protect the inside forces of troops and

clears out a root for them to attack. They did this type of tactic during the

Persian Gulf War when we sent aircraft carriers into the Persian Gulf and the

Mediterranean and set up air forces and troops in the neighboring countries to

set up an attack. We later launched sea and air attacks to weaken the forces in

Iraq. We need these forces surrounding the area to launch missions to kill or

damage the powerful sources and then we send in the troops to tack care of the

rest, like taking hostages or capturing any of our hostages.

When the ants are sent from the bivouac, the leading ants have no odor

for others to follow. They often hesitate and hold back an advance but the

pressure built up from behind forces on side of the front line to bulge forward.

As this movement slows down because of the relief of pressure behind it, a new

bulge develops and extends forward in another part of the front. The result is a

series of advances of different parts of the front which suggests flanking

movements. A presence of prey will accelerate the advance but the capture will

slow down as the prey is dismembered. So in turn, insects that ants come upon

are attacked very quickly by the mass of ants rushing upon them. Their pieces

are brought back to the biouvac for food and other sources of energy.

As the United States Army is sent from the homeland or base, they are

very similar to the way army ants behave. The Army sends a front line, as do

ants, which is usually made up of tanks and armed troops. As they advance closer

to the site of the attack the front line slows down till a backup force of a

second and third line reaches the site. This is very similar to the ants’

flanking motion. A presence of the enemy will accelerate the attack from the

masses of troops and tanks that were formed. When the enemy has control of the

attack slows down and it brings any hostages or injured troops back to the home

base. The army ants have a very similar tactic in the presence of prey.

Both the army ants and the United States Army have many of the same

military tactics when going into war. It is amazing that ants and humans have

some of the same styles of launching wars and yet we are very different in

physical attributes.