"Army Ants" as written by and Tom Waits Kathleen Brennan....
The Whirligig Beetles are wary and fast with an organ to detect the ripples
The Arachnid Moths lay their eggs inside other insects along the borders of fields
Or roads in clusters of white cocoons
The Ribbed Pine Borer is a longhorn beetle
Their antennas are half the length of their body and they feed on dead red pine
Robber Flies, with their immobile heads, inject a paralyzing fluid into their prey
That they snatch from life in mid-air
The Snow Flea's mode of locomotion, strange and odd
With a spiny tail mechanism with hooks and a protracted tube from the abdomen
To enable moisture absorption

The female Praying Mantis devours the male while they are mating.
The male sometimes continues copulating even after the female has bitten off his head
And part of his upper torso
Every night wasps bite into the stem of a plant, lock their mandibles into position
Stretch out at right angles to the stem and, with legs dangling, they fall asleep

If one places a minute amount of liquor on a scorpion
It will instantly go mad and sting itself to death
The Bombardier Beetle, when disturbed
Defends itself by emitting a series of explosions
Sometimes setting off four or five reports in succession
The noises sound like miniature popgun blasts
And are accompanied by a cloud of reddish-coloured, vile-smelling fluid
It is commonly known that ants keep slaves
Certain species, the so-called Sanguinary Ants in particular
Will raid the nests of other ant tribes and kill the queen and then kidnap many of the workers
The workers are brought back to the captor's hive where they are coerced into performing menial tasks

And as we discussed last semester, the Army Ants will leave nothing but your bones
Perhaps you've encountered some of these insects in your communities
Displaying both their predatory and defense characteristics
While imbedded within the walls of flesh and passing for
What is most commonly recognized
As human


Lyrics submitted by ikefox

"Army Ants" as written by Thomas Alan Waits Kathleen Brennan

Lyrics © JALMA MUSIC

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Army Ants song meanings
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5 Comments

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  • +1
    General CommentKiller sting in the tail. See these creepy bugs? Well, humans are worse! I think a lot of this is true & some (like the scorpion) is myth. Certainly ants do keep slaves, praying mantises have downright peculiar mating habits & some insects lay eggs in the (living) bodies of other insects so the larvae will have meat on the hoof when they hatch. Charming! And don't we all know people like that?
    morbid moragon June 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAs far as I know most of these are true to some extent, though there are always exceptions. The praying mantis one, for instance, is true in some cases, but it's not necessarily the norm. The female will only eat the male if she hasn't had a substantial meal prior to mating. She does this basically because she needs extra protein for the eggs. The bombadier beetle one is very true, so is the one about the slave-making ants. The one about army ants is true if you're a baby or a small animal, but it's not likely that they'd be able to take down an adult person, or that they would even bother to try. The scorpion one I don't know about, but I have heard of scorpions stinging themselves to death so I suppose there could be some truth to it. I've never done much research into that, though. Anyway, I love this song. I'm studying entomology in school right now and I've always loved this kinda stuff so this song definitely increased my liking for Tom Waits quite a bit :)
    LadyMactanson December 13, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDevilish...
    MardyAsson January 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI LOVE this song! Spookish, eccentric, intriguing... This is why I listen to Tom Waits. :D
    HCNon March 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI've tried looking up these weird creepy crawlies, but have only turned up a little evidence of these facts in the song being even agknowledged as true (copulating praying mantus' for example). Anyone know if these are just silly madeup facts, or if there are such beastly insects?
    GreenAndyon November 20, 2007   Link

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