Saharan silver ant on the sand

Saharan silver ant

The Saharan silver ant is one of the most heat tolerant animals on the planet. These hardy ants risk the extreme midday Saharan temperatures to scavenge corpses of heat-stricken animals. It is a bold venture that can last for only about ten minutes a day, before the colony must return to the nest or succumb to the heat.

For these silver ants it is a delicate balance as they must time their activity between when the predators are sheltering and the midday heat becomes lethal. To be able to withstand such deadly temperatures they have long legs that elevate their body above the scorching sand, and special heat-shock proteins so hot bodies continue to function. These super-fast ants are navigational experts that always know the shortest route back to the nest.

Scientific name: Cataglyphis bombycina

Rank: Species

Watch video clips from past programmes (1 clip)

In order to see this content you need to have an up-to-date version of Flash installed and Javascript turned on.

Distribution

The Saharan silver ant can be found in a number of locations including: Africa. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

Habitats

The following habitats are found across the Saharan silver ant distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Desert Desert
Desert and dry scrubland describes any area that receives less than 250mm of rainfall a year. Not just the endless, baking sand dunes of popular conception, it includes arid areas in temperate regions.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Classification

  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Arthropods
  4. Insects
  5. Ants, bees and wasps
  6. Ants
  7. Cataglyphis
  8. Saharan silver ant

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.