Associates of Eciton burchellii – Carl Rettenmeyer (2009)

Filmed entirely on location at La Selva Biological Field Station in Costa Rica this film is one of the two part documentary series produced by Rettenmeyers. Both documentaries harbor so much natural history that there’s almost no break during the narration.

Over the course of 55 years, Carl Rettenmeyer of the University of Connecticut and his wife Marian enthusiastically studied the army ant (Eciton burchellii) and their associates. Throughout this period Carl Rettenmeyer became the world’s leading expert on army ant associates. Before Carl Rettenmeyer passed away in 2009 a a near-complete list of animals associated with the army ants were compiled with 557 species ranging from birds to insects and mites. This could possibly be the largest description of animal association around one species. Within this list approximately 300 species depend on the ants. Today Rettenmeyer’s entire collection containing more than 1,200 voucher specimens is archived at the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department of the University of Connecticut.

In 2004 the California Academy of Sciences prepared a display harboring two captive army ant colonies collected from Trinidad and Costa Rica.

The National Geographic covered the army ants in a 2006 article.



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