Invading army ants

At the Catalina sector wetland, a group from Clemson and I discovered a stream of army ants (Eciton burchellii; I think) that had fanned out into a raiding swarm at one end.  There were hundreds of hidden cockroaches, crickets, hemipterans and other insects fleeing the area that was being scavenged by the ants.  A few insects appeared not to be bothered by the biting, stinging formacids, and soon became prey.  We watched the wasp pictured here go from freely sitting on a leaf to being completely dismantled with little or no reaction by the wasp.  The other picture is one of the soldier ants that was provoked by myself and others.  At first I laughed at her futile attempt to protect her sisters, until I realized that she was merely distracting me with a pose while several others climbed up my camera strap…army-ant-invasion-at-catalina-wetland-05212009-165117army-ant-invasion-at-catalina-wetland-05212009-165703