A battle of miniature proportions

Video highlights from Animal Fight Club

Not all animal battles involve large apex predators

When it comes to fighting over territory, ants and termites often come head to head in fatal combat. They may appear small in size, but they are big on deadly precision and violence.

During a territorial battle, the ant army seems to hold the advantage. The ant’s mandibles act as a lethal weapon, consisting of a thick layer of cuticles with sharp tips that are incredibly strong. They are made up of proteins similar to carbon fibre. Ants also have inbuilt armour, they are covered all over in a hard shell known as the exoskeleton, made up of a super strong proteins called kiton.

Since only the termites head is covered, its meaty body sits exposed and it appears to be a vulnerable target. The ants take advantage and aim for the soft spot between head and chest. Ants have tiny brains to leave room for huge muscles in the head which operate their mandibles. But termites know the ants Achilles heel, its exposed neck, which they seek to decapitate.

Termites also hold another advantage over their opponent, tunnel warfare. In the narrow passage ways deep inside a termite nest, the ants struggle during one on one combat, making it almost impossible to penetrate the termite’s fortress.

Without the rest of its army, the ant is ambushed and trapped. Triumphant termites do whatever they can to hang on to their homes, and since the ant army has already lost too many casualties, they retreat, leaving the termite’s time to review their latest breach in security.

Animal Fight Club premieres Thursdays at 7.30pm from 3 September

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