Housekeeping Army Ants

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Immaculate antbird perched on a moss-covered branch at Mashpi Lodge, a serene representation of Ecuador's birdlife.

In Mashpi, we can observe one of the world’s most fascinating symbiotic relationships first-hand: that between army ants and antbirds. Army ants literally “sweep” the forest floor when they are hunting, spooking out insects from their hiding places. Over time a group of birds called antbirds have learned to follow these swarms as they hunt, capturing any insect that manages to escape the ants.

Army Ants: Unseen Allies in the Daily Dance of Nature

Believe it or not, at the lodge something similar happens, because every morning before guests arrive at our terrace for birdwatching, our team of housekeepers comes to clean and “sweep” all the moths that alighted here the night before, attracted by the lights. Most of them manage to escape and fly into the forest. But, we have observed that the moths are then captured by a group of antbirds who have developed their own symbiotic relationship with our housekeepers! They take advantage of the morning sweep every day to feast on moths.

army ants
A serene bird amid the lush greenery at Mashpi Lodge, an image capturing the essence of serene wildlife encounters.

Our entire housekeeping team are a bit like ants: they’re ordered, organized and hardworking. But they also play an important role in the ecosystem of the hotel, performing the same function of the army ants, providing food to antbirds.

Smiling housekeeping team sitting together in a lounge with lush greenery visible through the window at a hospitality venue.
Tourists observing a yellow land iguana in its natural habitat at Finch Bay, Galapagos, included in Mashpi package tours.
Our Premier Ecuador Experience: The Golden Triangle
A Complete Experience that brings you the very best of Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands. With a stint in the Heart of Quito, The Mashpi Reserve, and a stay at The Galapagos Islands most lauded Hotel, Finch Bay.


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