Male Driver Ants are Willing to Die for Sex

Driver ants are a genus of African ants that are primarily found in central and east Africa. Gathering in colonies of over 20 million individuals, they are also known as “army ants”, and like armies of humans, they wage wars of conquest and utter destruction, capturing and devouring rival insects, arachnids, and other creatures.

Dorylus ants dragging off grasshopper - Photo by Karmesinkoenig
Dorylus ants dragging off a grasshopper. Photo by Karmesinkoenig.

Seasonally, when food supplies run low, driver ants leave their hill and form marching columns of up to 50 million ants. These columns of ants are very aggressive, and they will even attack humans with their powerful crushing mandibles. In the video below, a horde of army ants even manages to take down an angry, armored, stinging scorpion.

But that’s not all. The millions of solider and workers ants in these swarms are all female. So where are the males, you might ask? Once they hatch, male driver ants quickly leave the nest and grow into massive winged, sausage-like creatures. When they reach sexual maturity, they follow a scent trail back to a driver ant colony, where the worker and solider ants tear of his wings and carry him into the nest to mate with a virgin queen. After that, he dies. Watch the horrifying process in action in the video below. This puts a whole new meaning to “doesn’t matter; had sex”.