What are silverfishes and army ants?


Quick Answer

Silverfishes, also called fishmoths or Lepsima saccharina, are small, wingless insects with a silver and blue color, and army ants refer to over 200 different species of ants that share a common foraging technique of aggressively raiding an area in a raid-like fashion. Both species are found in several areas around the world.

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Full Answer

Silverfishes have a fish-like appearance, and they also move in a wiggling motion similar to fishes. They live for two to eight years on a nocturnal cycle and have a diet of carbohydrates, such as sugar and starches. When newly hatched, they actually have a whitish color that develops into the characteristic grey/silver hue as they mature.

They have three long cerci, or paired appendages, two small compound eyes, and are completely wingless. They inhabit moister areas with high rates of humidity and can be found in Africa, Asia, Australia, the Americas, and parts of the Pacific.

"Army ants" is a blanket term for many different species of ants, but the most unifying characteristic of this term applies to their foraging technique, where they enlist huge numbers to forage a certain area, many times in a predator-like fashion. Unlike many other ant species, army ants don't construct permanent nests, instead relying on a lifestyle of constant mobility.

The species with the most predominant army ant characteristics is a New World species named Eciton burchellii, from the genus Eciton. Their colonies can employ up to 200,000 ants, and they can be found in Central and South America.

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