A Most Fearsome Creature: Rainforest Ants

What do you think of when asked to name a dangerous animal living in the rainforest?

How about a jaguar, a piranha fish, a pit viper snake, or a fierce tiger?

You would certainly be right, but here is another fierce creature that you may not have thought about, ants.

How can such teeny, tiny creatures strike fear in people and animals alike? Rainforest ants may be little, but they have big ways to protect themselves, including the ability to cause painful bites or stings. One ant, in particular, known as the 24-Hour Ant is famous for its bite that can leave a person or animal in terrible pain for many hours. 

A Most Fearsome Creature: Rainforest Ants
There are over 200 different species of ants that live in the rainforest. In fact, there are so many ants, that if you were to weigh them all together, they would weigh more than any other animal group in the rainforest. That is a lot of ants!

Ants are very important to the rainforest; many are herbivores and feed on the plants and vines in the rainforest. This can help control growth. Other plants are scavengers and help with nature's process of recycling. Still other ant species are predators or turn up soil. Each group in their own way contributes to the rainforest ecosystem.

Something to Think About: Why are ants important to the rainforest ecosystem? 

Want to Learn More? Visit the Ant page at the Virtual Rainforest or check out Rainforest Education and the Smithsonian Tropical Institute pages to learn more. 

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