Siafu, also known as driver ants, army ants, giant ants, or giant ants of the Amazon are giant red ants. They are typically six inches long, with their size and appearance varying as a result of the quantity of fungus they are fed as larvae. Their jaws are strong enough to break human skin, and a swarm was capable of carrying a full-grown human back to their nest. The giants primarily served to retaliate against attackers.
Adventures with siafu
In 1957, while Indiana Jones and his comrades were trying to flee from Soviets led by Irina Spalko in the jungles of South America, the car containing Spalko and her driver crashed into an anthill, home to a large colony of the siafu. Spalko pulled a pistol on Jones and his company, only to notice a rather large ant crawl onto her hand and bite her. She retaliated by squishing it with her bare hand, but then more ants started pouring into the car from underneath, prompting the driver and Spalko to start stomping as many as they could. Seeing the rapidly-deteriorating situation, the two fled, but while Spalko got to safety in a nearby tree, the ants swarmed the driver, and he was pulled down and eaten alive. One ant did climb onto Spalko, but she killed it by squishing it with her knees.
However, this affair agitated the ants, and a vast swarm of then began raiding the forest floor. While Jones and the Russian colonel Antonin Dovchenko were having a fistfight, the swarm approached but Harold Oxley uncovered the Crystal Skull of Akator before them, causing the ants to diverge around them and created an empty area in which Dovchenko and Jones could continue their brawl.
Eventually, Jones got the upper hand by beating the head of Dovchenko with a wooden trunk, causing the dazed colonel to fall backwards into the swarm. The ants subsequently engulfed him, and he was pulled screaming into their nest and devoured alive. Afterwards, with the help of the skull, the ants dispersed, allowing Jones and his companions to proceed.
Behind the scenes
The siafu appeared in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, developed from Frank Darabont's script Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods, one of many considered for the fourth film. In that version, the ants devour alive a mule, a German henchman named Himmelman and some Hovitos, while Indiana Jones, Marion Ravenwood and other characters run to the river for safety.
Although the siafu were developed from Darabont's City of the Gods script, the idea of giant, flesh-eating ants in film was considered for an abandoned script written during the early development of the third Indiana Jones film which eventually became Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Siafu are actually native to parts of Africa and Asia, not Brazil, and are oversized in the film. Being an archaeologist and not an entomologist, it's possible that Indy simply misidentified them. Brazil does have a species of ant close to the siafu, from the Atta genus (known locally as "Saúva"). However, these are less aggressive than siafu.
- Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods (Cancelled)
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
- Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull novel
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comic
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Non-canonical appearance)