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A novel routing scheme for mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs), which combines the on-demand routing capability of Ad Hoc On-Demand Distance Vector (AODV) routing protocol with a distributed topology discovery mechanism using ant-like mobile agents is proposed in this paper. The proposed hybrid protocol reduces route discovery latency and the end-to-end delay by providing high connectivity without requiring much of the scarce network capacity. On the one side the proactive routing protocols in MANETs like Destination Sequenced Distance Vector (DSDV) require to know, the topology of the entire network. Hence they are not suitable for highly dynamic networks such as MANETs, since the topology update information needs to be propagated frequently throughout the network. These frequent broadcasts limit the available network capacity for actual data communication. On the other hand, on-demand, reactive routing schemes like AODV and Dynamic Source Routing (DSR), require the actual transmission of the data to be delayed until the route is discovered. Due to this long delay a pure reactive routing protocol may not be applicable for real-time data and multimedia communication. Through extensive simulations in this paper it is proved that the proposed Ant-AODV hybrid routing technique, is able to achieve reduced end-to-end delay compared to conventional ant-based and AODV routing protocols.