Comoe Research Station

Myrmecology: Megaponera analis

Behaviour and Ecology of Megaponera analis

West African savannahs, with their long dry seasons, led to the evolution of ingenious ways by animals to survive in this extreme habitat. Ants and termites, both important for many ecosystem functions, therefore had to find ways to minimize their costs to cope with these extreme conditions. Megaponera analis is a termite hunting ant species present in West African savannahs that conduct organized raids against termites. Their sophisticated raiding behaviour gave them the common name Matabele ant after the Matabele tribe, fierce warriors who overwhelmed various other tribes during the 1800s.

Our Research focuses on four major topics:

  1. The Raiding behaviour: Raid formation, work division and optimal foraging
  2. The Scouting behaviour: Orientation, scouting patterns and age polyethism
  3. The Helping behaviour: Unique behaviour in which injured ants are helped by nestmates
  4. Chemical Communication: For helping behaviour, recruitment and raid organisation



Erik T. Frank

University of Würzburg
Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology
Biocenter -  Am Hubland

97074 Würzburg, Germany