Soldier ants / Major workers

Soldier ants are also known as ‘major workers’ or ‘big heads’. They are only present among certain ant species that are ‘polymorphic’.

These sterile female ants are larger and stronger than typical workers. They protect their colony from large predators and use their strength and large jaws or mandibles  to cut and carry larger objects.

In harvester ant species, the soldiers use their strength to crack open hard seeds.

In leaf cutter ant species, the soldiers cut through the thicker plants so that the minor workers can carry the clippings back to their nest.

Some species have median workers that are sized between minor and major workers.