There are about 150 species of army ants in the New World (i.e. North, South and central America). They are all classified in the ant sub family Ecitonini. Although army ant species are found from Kansas to Argentina, few people in North America realize that there are plenty of army ants living in the US because most army ants only come out at night and many live underground.
Eciton burchelli and Eciton hamatum are the most visible and best studied of the New World army ants because they forage above ground and during the day. Their range stretches from southern Mexico to the northern part of South America.
In Africa, thrushes of the genus Alethes follow army-ant swarms, as do some bulbuls in both Africa and Asia.
New World army ants belong to the subfamily Ecitoninae. This subfamily is further broken into two groups, Cheliomyrmex and the Ecitonini. The most predominant species of Eciton is Eciton burchelli, whose common name is army ant and which is considered to be the archetypal species.
Army ant taxonomy remains ever-changing, and genetic analysis will continue to provide more information about the relatedness of the various species.
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