Recent advances in army ant biology (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:D. J. C. KRONAUER
Journal:Myrmecological News
Keywords:Aenictinae, colony fission, Dorylinae, dorylomorph section, Ecitoninae, group predation, nomadism, review.

Army ants are dominant social hunters of invertebrates and thereby play an integral role in tropical ecosystems. They are defined by a suite of evolutionarily interrelated physiological, behavioural and morphological traits, the army ant adaptive syndrome: they are obligate group predators, they frequently relocate their nests, and their permanently wingless queens found new colonies accompanied by workers. If this functional definition is applied rather than a taxonomic  one, army ants have evolved repeatedly in distantly related groups of ants. In addition, army ants typically have extremely male-biased numerical sex-ratios, and the queens of the studied species are inseminated by many males. The aim of this review is to provide a synthesis of the most recent work on army ant biology, to outline an evolutionary scenario that connects the different aspects of army ant life-history, and to give some directions for future research. 

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith