Giant ants from space Snuff the human race Then they eat your face
November 17, 2018 10:39 AM   Subscribe

Ants that collect the skulls of their prey.
"Time-lapse video observation of the interior nest chambers of laboratory colonies found that freshly-killed trap-jaw ants are dragged into the nest like food items and dismembered. Leading to nests filled with trap-jaw ant body parts, as is found in natural colonies."
posted by thatwhichfalls (15 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Now we know the official insect of death metal.
posted by Alison at 10:54 AM on November 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

Makes me want a Conan the barbarian adaptation where everyone's a bug.
posted by Rinku at 10:59 AM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

and, i for one, welcome our new insect overlords
posted by entropicamericana at 11:03 AM on November 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

Also, chemical mimicry is usually a tactic used by social parasites, but there's no evidence that F. archboldi are a parasitic species."

How to get a head in ant-vertising.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 11:48 AM on November 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Makes ya wonder what they keep in the Ant Farm.™
posted by clavdivs at 1:13 PM on November 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

Jesus Christ, ants, tone it down a little, would you?
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:07 PM on November 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

Somehow I'm not surprised that it's Florida where the ants are worshipers of Khorne.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:14 PM on November 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

Thanks ants. Thants.
posted by hototogisu at 2:21 PM on November 17, 2018 [4 favorites]

Barbarians at the gates: 30 Japanese Giant Hornets kill 30,000 Honey Bees (but apparently take no trophies).
posted by cenoxo at 5:47 PM on November 17, 2018

A few species of ant are pirates that enslave other ants. Instead of finding their own food and caring for their own young, some ants simply make other insects their slaves. [BBC - Earth, 10/28/2015]:
Foitzik and her team noticed that colonies of the slave-maker ant T. americanus had lots of slave-maker larvae in spring, but come summer only a few adults popped out. That looked suspicious.

The team brought natural nests into their lab and studied how successful the host ants were at rearing their own brood and the slave-makers' brood. Temnothorax hosts are able to recognise and kill slave-maker pupae.

The enslaved Temnothorax workers did a fantastic job rearing their own pupae. On the other hand, they waited till the slave-maker brood pupated, and then systematically killed slave-maker pupae.

In about a third of cases, they jumped on the slave-maker pupae and tore them apart. The rest of the time, they removed the slave-maker pupae from their nest chamber and placed them outside, where they wasted away.
How Ant Slaves Overthrow Their Masters – Despite being an evolutionary dead end, one ant species rebels against the tyranny of another [Discover, 4/10/2014]:
...Pamminger and his colleagues were puzzled by the insidious ways they saw slaves turning the tables on their masters. The slaves will just stop feeding and cleaning the young ants in their care, leading them to die. Sometimes, a group of slaves will incite an all-out revolt and dismember the young in a gruesome game of tug-of-war.
Such freedom comes at a price, however:
posted by cenoxo at 6:58 PM on November 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

Am I understanding correctly that the key to what's happening here is that F. archboldi has more accurate formic acid spray than other ants? (And maybe something to do with its chemical mimicry of its prey?)
posted by clawsoon at 5:09 AM on November 18, 2018

Ants that collect the skulls of their prey.
That's nothing. The assassin bug Acanthaspis petax not only keeps the ants it kills, but it sticks them on its back and walks around carrying the corpses of its victims.
posted by elgilito at 1:26 PM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

(Nice Blondie title)
posted by doctornemo at 2:11 PM on November 18, 2018

Phorid fly is the headhunter of the animal kingdom. The phorid fly Dohrniphora longirostrata decapitates ants and eats their heads, probably to get energy to lay eggs:
A pair of phorid flies hovers over a wounded ant. While the male hangs back, the female lands and walks around the ant, examining it and poking it. Then she hops onto it and rips its head off. Finally, the female drags her trophy across the forest floor to an isolated, safe place, and eats it.

This never-before-seen behaviour is performed by an insect called Dohrniphora longirostrata. It belongs to a group of insects called phorid flies or scuttle flies, or sometimes “coffin flies”.
Detailed descriptions of other phorid behaviors follows, along with (perhaps NSFL) close-up video of flies decapitating still-living ants.

The horror!
posted by cenoxo at 5:11 PM on November 18, 2018

Related praying mantis illustration by Danny Shanahan, The New Yorker.
posted by cenoxo at 5:19 PM on November 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

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