Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Entomology

pp 1246-1251

Driver Ants (Dorylus subgenus Anomma) (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

  • Caspar SchöningAffiliated withUniversity of Copenhagen

Driver ants are those army ant species in the afrotropical subgenus Dorylus (Anomma) that hunt by massive swarm raids on the forest floor and up in the vegetation. Any animal capable of moving fast enough and lacking other effective protective mechanisms flees from such an advancing swarm of hundreds of thousands or even millions of ant workers in search of prey. Hence the raid swarm “drives” many animals before it. Due to their ferocious nature, these ants are recognized by their own name in many tribal languages in sub-Saharan Africa. In Ghana, for example, they are called “Nkran” in the Twi language. In Kenya, people in the Meru tribe use the term “Thuraku” for them. Their common English name was originally coined in 1847 by Dr. Thomas Savage in the description of his observations of D. (A.) nigricans colonies in present-day Liberia. Although other authors have subsequently applied the term to all species in the subgenus Anomma (as currently recognized) or even to all species in the ...

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