Anomma , Shuck. Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist. v. 326 (1840).
Sphegomyrmex, Imhoff, Bericht ueber die Verh. der Naturf. Gesellsch. zu Basel, x. (1852) p. 175.
Head widest in front; mandibles elongate, curved and forcipate, with a large curved tooth at about half their length within; the labial palpi 2-jointed; the maxillary palpi 2-jointed; the antennae slender and 11-jointed. Thorax elongate, constricted in the middle; the legs slender and elongate. The node of the peduncle of the abdomen incrassate, elongate and narrow; the segments of the abdomen very slightly constricted.
The Ants belonging to this genus are those known as the " Driver and Visiting-Ants of Africa." An interesting account of their habits is published in the ' Transactions of the Entomological Society.' They are described as marching in vast armies, driving everything before them capable of muscular motion, so formidable are they from their numbers and bite: in respect to that fact they stand unique in their habits, and in distinction from other species. Their sallies are made in cloudy days and in the night, chiefly the latter: an exposure to the direct rays of the sun is almost immediately fatal. If they should be detained abroad till late in the morning, on a sunny day, by the quantity of their prey, they construct arches over their path; but should their way run under thick grass, &c., affording sufficient shelter, the arch is dispensed with. Whenever a stream of water intercepts their course in their excursions and migrations, if it should not be extensive, they compass it; but if otherwise, they make a line or chain of one another, gradually extending themselves by numbers across, till a connexion is formed with the opposite side, and thus a bridge is constructed, over which the main body passes in safety. The Drivers delight in rather low localities, generally the base of hills; consequently they are liable to be driven from their haunts during the rainy season, when the violent and continued rains, and the sudden swelling of rivers, cause the low grounds to be overflowed. In such an emergency, they throw themselves into a rounded mass, deposit their pupae and eggs in the centre, and thus float upon the water till a place of safety is reached, or the flood subsides. Their entrance into a house is soon known by the simultaneous and universal movement of rats, mice, lizards, cockroaches, &c, and of the numerous vermin that infest dwellings, which renders their visits sometimes desirable. The mandibles of the DriverAnt of the largest size are formidable, strongly hooked, having one tooth; those of the second size are flatter, sharper, and armed with strong teeth; the edges are finely serrated, and admirably calculated for lacerating and cutting muscular fibre. The inhabitants of the negro villages are frequently obliged to abandon their dwellings, taking with them their children, and wait until the ants have passed.
The males and females of Anomma are not known.
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