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Driver ants

Dorylus sp.


Black soldier ants running across a muddy path early in the morning. It is in the harmattan/dry season and due to extreme temperatures or unfavorable weather conditions, the ants are forced to migrate carry all their foods, eggs and larva. The stronger ants with cutting mouth parts come together to form a thin protective canopy over the workers transporting the goods that is valuable to bigger animals that could pose as predators during the exodus. And that is why the trail is darker than usual.


Secondary forests, bushy areas

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45 Comments (1–25)

outsidegirl0 7 years ago

OMG! amazing picture!

AfriBats 7 years ago

Wow, that's a massive trail!

dotun55 7 years ago

Additional photo: first trail I captured >>

Happy 2014!!!

Tom15 7 years ago

Congratulations, that's quite a sight!

Maria dB
Maria dB 7 years ago

Very nice spotting - congratulations!

dotun55 7 years ago

Thank you! Wishing us all a Happy New Year, full of new adventures and greater findings : )

Nice capture Dotun55,congrats on the SOTD and thanks for sharing

Dilan Chathuranga
Dilan Chathuranga 7 years ago

Beautiful series!!Congrats dotun55!!!

RiekoS 7 years ago

Congratulations and thank you very much for sharing such interesting series.

ToshimiDowaki 7 years ago

Wonderful series! Congratulations!

Congrats dotun55 on this SOTD!

LaurenZarate 7 years ago

Congratulations dotun for SOTD for these wonderful pictures! I am very happy for you.

VivBraznell 7 years ago

Congratulations on the SOTD dotun55!

Dixie 7 years ago

Congratulations! Wow, Great Pics.

beaker98 7 years ago

Congrats dotun55! Amazing series!

Yasser 7 years ago

Congratulations on Spotting of the Day! This is a fascinating and informative series that really shows us how interesting these ants are. Thanks for all the fantastic contributions and we look forward to seeing many, many more!


LuisStevens 7 years ago

Congrats dotun55!

dotun55 7 years ago

Oh I'll take a look. This is as close as it gets >>
Soldiers are poised to grab anything that gets so close with those pincers of theirs. There is a high risk of getting bitten. And as you know, I'm not paid for such manner of risk : )
As for the use of ants heads for suturing wounds, there is a classical example in Mel Gibson's Apocalypto. Ingenious!

suzmonk 7 years ago

Great spotting ... really interesting process to see!

LaurenZarate 7 years ago

For Nigeria, Antweb lists Dorylus emeryi ( and Dorylus nigricans (

LaurenZarate 7 years ago

You might want to change the title from Army Ants to Driver Ants/Siafu. Do you also speak Swahili? It would be so amazing to see this. I've only ever seen the documentaries for these. I did get to see Army Ants in Costa Rica though and that was just fascinating.

LaurenZarate 7 years ago

Here is a link to, a really useful site for finding an ant. This gives 61 species with 68 subspecies of Dorylus! Amazing. Next to the Genus Dorylus, choose "images" and you can select head, lateral or dorsal view of all the species that there are pictures for. Maybe with the head views, you can see which species of Driver Ant you have here. Do you have any close up of the soldiers? Too scary to get close? They look terrifying. Have you ever seen anyone use the heads for suturing a wound?

Smith Zoo
Smith Zoo 7 years ago

Amazing spot! Well done Dotun55!

dotun55 7 years ago

@Lauren. I think that it is more likely that the first ants had blazed the trail, removing obstacles (like small movable gravels), making for an easy transit for the workers, and the rest which are not as strong as the big-headed soldiers. But I'll look closely at subsequent trails I may encounter in future to confirm this. As said earlier, this is a wild and regularly occurring scene in this part.

@EnvUnlimited. Thanks for the insight. Must see Hellstrom Chronicle any time soon. Another movie that portrays an extreme case of these highly social critters is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Interestingly, the hyperlink 'giant ants' in the movie synopsis on Wikipedia leads to the page for driver ants (saifu), which I think has the nearest or best description for the images above.

Spotted by

Lagos, Ogun, Nigeria

Spotted on Dec 7, 2013
Submitted on Dec 25, 2013


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