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Millipede hunting ant (Plectroctena sp.) with prey

These are millipede specialists, the huge jaws grasp and hold the millipede, while strong legs hold the ground and prevent the millipede from thrashing out of its grasp. The hairs lining the mandibles probably offer a better grip on the smooth, rounded body.
The appear to form hunting packs of no more than 4 individuals, though a single ant is enough to subdue a millipede. It will grasp it in its huge vice-like jaws and sting the only vulnerable spot, its underside. It will then laboriously carry it back to the nest to dismember. Photographed in Usambara mountains, Tanzania. Paul Bertner 2014.

Amani nature reservebiologyEastern arc mountainsmacromacrographynational parknatureTanzaniaUsambara mountainswildlifespecialistpredationhunting