Ants are amazing creatures known for their strength and ingenuity. However, with around 12,000 species of ants around the world, you know there are some pretty strange ones as well. From ants that are suicide bombers to ones that have the fastest bite in the world, keep reading to learn more about the weirdest ants in the world.
Ants That Blow Themselves Up
Carpenter ants are one of the most common genera of ants in the world. While they’re known for building elaborate tunnels and nests, the Camponotus saundersi species has one other aspect that makes it stand out from other ants: it can blow itself up.
This ant has long jaws and poisonous glands on both sides of its body. If it gets into a fight with another animal and starts to lose, it uses those jaws to pierce the poisonous glands and spray a toxic substance all over its enemy. Of course, this is the last resort option for the ant, since blowing itself up never ends well for it either.
Ants That Can Glide
The soldier caste of the door head ant has a broad, flattened head that makes it look rather odd. However, this strange feature actually serves an important function. Door head ants can use their head like a cork to seal the entrance to their colony and protect the other ants inside. Their heads are also camouflaged to match the tree trunk where the colony lives, making the entrance very hard to spot. Additionally, some species have even adapted this feature to help them glide back to their tree if they fall from a higher branch.
Ants as Medical Devices
Even though driver ants are completely blind, they’re known for going on raids in such large numbers they can take down small animals. The reason they’re able to do this is because they have very powerful jaws with large mandibles.
While most people would want to stay as far away from these ants as possible, the Masai tribe of Africa where the ants live actually use them as pest removal in their homes. Masai tribesman will also use driver ants as a natural suture. They’ll place the ant on deep cuts and make the ant bite the wound closed to help it heal.
Ants With a Deadly Weapon on Their Faces
While the driver ant might have a large and strong jaw, nothing compares to the trap-jaw ant. Their mandibles are massive and incredibly powerful. In fact, a trap jaw ant can close its jaw at speeds of up to 145 miles per hour. While this gives the ant the ability to pack a very painful bite, it also provides the ant with another unique defense. It can slam its jaw shut against the ground so hard it propels the ant up and back several feet and away from danger.
Ants aren’t just simple creatures that look for food all day. As these examples show, there are also some incredibly weird ants with amazing adaptations.