Odontomachus trap jaw ant sips from extra floral nectary

For the last two weeks I have been trooping around the Rainforest near Oran with my new camera taking macro shots of every insect possible.
I was very excited to see my favorite species of carnivorous ant sipping away at the extrafloral nectaries found in fig saplings. The video is a bit shaky but there are photos also.

Have a look at what I filmed

This type of ant is known to have the fastest reaction to a stimulus of its trigger hairs which are located between the mandibles. These hairs are directly connected with the brain of the ant so there is no thinking going on when the trap is sprung

20130302-100548 a.m..jpgcan you see the fine white trigger hairs located in the mandible region?

This voracious predator has gone vegan? No, it is only supplementing its diet possibly in return for protecting the little fig sapling from caterpillars and other leaf eating individuals

Have you ever noticed the tongue of an ant? Observe the furry golden appendage that is lapping at the nectar

20130302-101509 a.m..jpg

Here are two more picture to take a peek at

20130302-101905 a.m..jpg

20130302-101948 a.m..jpg
Why are they one of my favorite ants? Well, first of all, they are fast, closing their jaws at over 130kph. But they also use the jaws to catapult themselves away from danger.

When observing these ants, if you find one alone, it is very skittish and will try to escape before aggressive tactics are used. When near their nest though, they are very aggressive stinging and biting at anything that moves.

Here in the Iquitos region , these ants are known as “tingotero” or the one who flicks , a tingote is a hard flick with a finger

As quoted from Wikipedia
Trap-jaw ants of this genus have the fastest moving predatory
appendages within the animal kingdom.[1] One study of Odontomachus
bauri recorded peak speeds of between 126–230 kilometres per hour
(78–140 mph), with the jaws closing within just 130 microseconds on
average. The peak force exerted was in the order of 300 times the body
weight of the ant. The ants were also observed to use their jaws as a
catapult to eject intruders or fling themselves backwards to escape a
threat.[1][2]

Cool eh?
Otorongo Expeditions

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