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#130 Dracula Ant

Critically Endangered

Happy Halloween, I would like to suggest these are the mascot for the holiday.

They are a blind, subterranean ant endemic to the Zombiste Forest in Madagascar. There are a few other species of Dracula ants, this is the Adetomyrma venatrix. It was discovered not long ago that the Dracula ant is the fastest animal on earth. I don't believe they used this particular species in the tests, I'm not sure which ones were. I assume these are similar to the rest of them. By fastest animal, they aren't talking about running speed. Their jaws "go from 0-200 miles per hour in 15 microseconds", which is 5000 times faster than you can blink! The thought that there are ants out there (I find ants creepier than spiders even) that can move so fast it took close to 500,000 frames per second to capture the bite on film is bad enough. Their feeding habits though, that is what tips the scale in their favour as Halloween mascot. The workers go out every day to use their venomous sting and bring back prey for the larvae. They aren't getting that for them to eat though, nope, they don't like take-away food, they prefer home grown. They bite holes in the heads of the larvae and drink the bug equivalent of blood (hemolymph). And not surprisingly, the larvae don't like it. They try desperately to escape. One article about them even mentioned tiny ant screams...I really hope they were joking.

It is still early in the day, I will go ahead and update this with a picture of my kids dressed up in their costumes later. The ants are scary enough to be the only thing I share on Halloween though.

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