Carnivorous ants |  TERRITORY news from Misiones.

Carnivorous ants | TERRITORY news from Misiones.

Sunday 12 June 2022 | 6:00 am.

A traveler from the capital city and two village peons, who had one night camped out in the jungles of Misiones, awoke at three o’clock in the morning from unbearable bites that pierced their entire bodies like red-hot pinpricks. The traveler at first did not know what to attribute this to, but soon the voices of the peonies freed him from doubts.

-Correction, boss… Añamenby!

Two Paraguayans took off their shirt and pants, climbing onto the charred trunk. The traveler did the same, of course, with much less speed for his own harm, and throwing off his clothes, he in turn climbed onto the chest with his companions, who rubbed their entire body with incredible speed in order to literally tear off the ants attached to them, to your skin .

At his own expense, the traveler did the same maneuver, until, finally, freed from this torment, they remained standing motionless.

Downstairs, meanwhile, the little ants, which the Brazilians call here in Misiones “correction” or “correzón”, perhaps more correctly, continued to run in tight rows, so dense and fast that they resembled black rivers.

They are beautiful in their own right; The bad news is that every little ant that makes up the river is essentially carnivorous and bites with incredible force, much like a wasp sting. The pain from the bite endures two or three exacerbations in the form of new stitches. Usually everything lasts ten minutes; rarely more. But when dozens or hundreds of terrifying little ants crawl under the clothes, the state of raging madness that they provoke is quite understandable.

Fortunately, the three travelers felt the vanguard of correction; and so, while they stoically waited for the burning of the whole body to stop, thick rivers of ants passed and quickly passed under the trunk.

Although it was summer, late nights in Misiones are very cool. So, to the already somewhat strange figure of three naked men on a tree, afraid of ants, was added a cold that made them shiver … But what to wear, if everything certainly served as a paved path to the river of ants. ?

Until at dawn the worker, placing a prudent foot in the fallen leaves like a hook, was able to confirm that the correction had finally passed, with which the three men, frozen from the cold, went downstairs and dressed with understandable speed. But as soon as the traveler had time to put on his shorts, he launched ¡añamembrú! with reckless, but no less terrible energy, he tore his panties in two and jumped like a monkey into a tree.

The Paraguayans laughed. They, accustomed to these pranks, as a precaution threw their clothes on some branches, so that the ants, having diligently studied it, went down. The traveler, however, threw his clothes on the ground, and under it, among the disgrace familiar to his habits, correction was somewhat delayed.

As in other families of ants, there are much larger individuals in the penitentiary, most likely the leaders of the army. They, like their subjects, are brilliant black and very fast. This speed is typical for such ants. They zigzag very fast, full of restlessness and fierce urgency, giving the impression of a frightened flight rather than a hunt. They suddenly appear in the garden, in the house, not really knowing where they come from. But one who, passing through a manger or garden beds, suddenly notices a great excitement among the crickets and locusts familiar to him, and sees how they jump up and hurriedly run from a certain place, can be sure that correction has entered there. Indeed, the black rivers begin their hunt. In the smallest hole in the ground, small ants literally burst inside, with a meaning – if we are talking about a large cave – truly amazing. Crickets, bears, lobsters, spiders, centipedes, scorpions are found in minks. Then the fight begins in the dark. The first blindly descending ant rushes at the sullen refugee and sinks its teeth. If the animal is a harmless cricket, all is well. If it is a scorpion, the little ant will die like the second, like the third, like the fourth. But small ants continue to rush along the walls of the lair, and soon the beast is beating wildly, tearing, held by the legs by millions of tiny animals, which finally manage to immobilize the victim. The ants that keep on coming rush at the powerless prey and devour it alive.

Sometimes, however, the fight becomes much more serious. The hole that the patch has carved, thanks to its size, roundness and smoothness of the walls, clearly indicates that this is a snake cave, including a rattlesnake or hararar, which reaches 1.80 meters as thick as a beer bottle. It does not matter: the river of ants rushes without hesitation into the bottomless abyss, and only God knows what is happening there. The cave serves as a tomb for the grave snake for its coiled skeleton, otherwise the animal comes out and, if he is lucky, is saved. This courage of small animals extends to every living creature in its path, and it seems that the size of the enemy has increased its hostility. From the earthworm to the tiger, every creature that carries meat either perishes or succumbs to undeniable black rivers. So, when correction invades a home, you hear chickens clucking, tethered dogs howling, cows mooing in a paddock. Flight is the only possible escape, and the bull will be eaten white white in no more than four days. Fortunately, animals are not often affected, and corrective rivers are not always dense and numerous enough to cause such disasters. However, these rivers sometimes overflow until they join with others, and then comes the real black sea five or ten meters wide. And since the ants are very shiny, and their movements are very fast and zigzag, all this produces a vibration sensation that is not at all pleasant.

Their usual den is bush and they come out in winter, usually in the afternoon when it rains. By nightfall, they are in the middle of the hunting season, and this causes serious inconvenience to the inhabitants. Indeed, when the cleanliness in the house that the correction visits is not excessive – and in this case, almost the entire ranch is found – the little ants find something to eat: from spiders, piques, kissing bugs and other things, to waste that floods the house and the residents’ own clothes . In these blessed places, correction is established for three or four days, until the most insignificant remains of animals and carnivores are eaten.

Thus, the house is perfectly clean, and for this reason the laborers are in awe of correction. The noted drawback is that with a numerous invasion, it is necessary to leave the ranch to the ants and set up a camp on the street in frosts of 5 and 6 degrees below zero. And all of them, men, women, children, surrender the area to the enemy in exchange for the fact that they, too, will be eaten alive. When the fix finally goes away, there is confidence that the ranch is clean. But if precautions were not taken, the fat of the most destitute peon disappeared along with the pique and vinchuks.

Usually the occupant becomes aware of the attack when the correction is inside, and from the bunk he sees, after a sudden jump, that a black river runs through the straw. The pawns say that the terrible animal is angry enough to climb on the straw and from there fall on the unfortunate sleeper in order to devour him. Others, on the other hand, argue that the fix only attacks living things that move; just pretending to be dead is enough to get rid of your teeth. Whoever puts a stagnant hand to the crossing of the black river in order to verify the saying, he acquires deep convictions in it.

Thus, much as the disappointment of a family thrown three jumps outside the ranch and forced to jump into the water if the attack is terrible, the happiness of the farmer who sees his garden taken over by correction is great, since the local lobster “tukura” is known to inflict such the same harm as the ant “cortadera”, which is important. If a farmer is happy to have a seedling of grass, so much the greater happiness: nothing will remain of the cricket and bear but the lonely hole where they lived. But if the same farmer had a prosperous apiary with well-fed frames of offspring, then only hollow alveoli will remain of any hope, if the wax itself is not eaten, as was once observed. All of this is to say that the addition of disadvantages and advantages, the joy that the fix brings, is completely accidental.

Now, as a protective measure, it seems that water alone is enough. Acaroin in a 5% solution is absolutely effective, and a watering can is enough to save a house and one’s own skin from a monster raider.

Horace Quiroga

From the book Life in Missions. Quiroga lived in San Ignacio for several years. Some of the published books are: Cloud Love Story; Tales of love madness and death; Jungle and Desert Tales

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