National Geographic : 2006 Aug
ECITON BURCHELLII (ACTUAL SIZE) MINOR MEDIA SUBMAJOR MAJOR QUEEN In Her Majesty's Service Carrying the pupae of the next generation (below), a colony on the move marches the length of a football field every day. E. burchellii alternate between nomadic and stationary phases, linked to the colony's reproductive cycle. Four sizes of workers (above) live to nourish and protect the queen (close-up, facing page). The three smallest workers kill and carry the colony's prey and also feed the queen and the larvae. Majors, or soldiers, defend the colony. Workers live only a few months, but the queen survives for several years. Her demise before the birth of a new queen would send the colony into chaos-and doom it.