Did you know that ants can be zombies?
Check out 6 facts about ants! You might be surprised what these little guys can do...
6 Common Facts About Ants
Before humans, ant jobs are:
- farming vegetation (e.g. leafcutter ants)
- tending and milking livestock "ant cows" (e.g. aphid-tending ants)
- engage in chemical warfare (i.e. formic acid shot from rear end of many ants)
- raid (e.g. army ants)
- build massive cities and erecting great architectural structures
More surprising jobs include:
- suicide bombers (i.e. a species of carpenter ants that literally self-destruct at will into an acidic mess when in contact with enemies)
- child labor (e.g. weaver ants that use their young's silk to glue leaves together for their nests)
- making slaves out of other ants (i.e. slave-making ants)
2. Highway Network
For millions of years, ants have been creating highways and highway tolls (e.g. ant soldiers of some species that allow those of the other genera to pass only by surrendering food). In those network, they also set up facilities: restroom, a daycare center for the children, food distribution, cemeteries, and even garbage disposal systems.
Ants have even had to contend with various forms of zombie-ism by way of fungal parasites called Ophidiocordiceps, flatworm larvae, and certain species of fly maggots which make their way into the ants’ brains and control them. Very interesting stuff if you’re into zombie movies!
4. Democratic Votes
Like humans, ants also exercise democracy and members of the colony cast votes on their colonies' varying issues and life choices. For instance, they decide on where to create nesting quarters and where to place their young.
Ants don’t have vocal chords, so they communicate through the use of pheromones, biological chemicals that communicate very specific messages to other ants of their colony. Interestingly, every pheromone carries a unique message. This pheromonal language is perfect, considering there are no misheard nor ambiguous instructions, which can cripple or hinder a colony’s initiatives and projects.
In the Ant Realm (yes, Marvel pun :) ), the trendy topics would be:
"Food this way", "Enemy Spotted", "It's raining now. Move the kids", "Queen is ready to lay egg. Help!"
Ants from temperate regions hibernate during winter (the correct term is “brumate”, but more about that later), many in sub-zero temperatures which would normally be fatal for insects. Ants, however, have the ability to produce glycerol in their blood, an effective anti-freeze during these cold periods, resulting in complete recovery year-after-year in the spring.
Having evolved with other plants and animals through their millions of years of existence, the plethora of ant behaviours can truly boggle the minds of those who are given the unique opportunity to watch and learn about their ways... the complexities, the sheer diversity, and uniqueness of every single ant is astounding. This is why ant keeping is naturally a rewarding and enjoyable hobby. Ants are highly- advanced civilizations in their own right, discreetly, and sometimes indiscreetly, working right under our very noses and ruling the world.
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