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The Amazing Ants: How to Form a Bridge
Have you ever watched ants working together?
I’m sure you have seen ants carrying pieces of food and communicating with other ants along the way, right? But have you seen how they work together to solve some problems? Yes, they solve problems, and I witnessed this first hand!
Ants don’t have complicated brains. Actually, they have simple nervous systems. But the way they solved their problem of how to move to the other side of a fence, was simply amazing to me.
I was out in my garden one morning and saw a procession of red ants moving to and from a nearby rubber tree, along our gate and fence, and up to another tree. I was fascinated by the activity because there were hundreds or even thousands of them moving about as if obeying a command.
Their movement was very orderly. Some would stop every once in a while to exchange some message with other ants they met along the way. Then after the brief encounter, they either continued towards their destination or changed direction.
I followed their procession and stumbled upon something I have never seen before.Guess what I saw?
If We Hold On Together
Two ants were trying to cross a portion of the gate but they could not reach the other side. I watched them waving their legs helplessly as they tried to reach out. I think other ants sensed their "cries for help" because soon more ants appeared on the scene. Ants by the way send out signals through chemicals called pheromones.
As if a director or commander gave out a command, the ants started behaving like a team of builders. They started holding on to each other forming a chain until one ant finally was able to touch the other side and make a connection. They formed a bridge!
Other ants soon used this ant bridge to cross to the other side! I immediately got my camera and started shooting away. Wow! What an amazing sight it was! Here are some photos I took that day.
If you look at the ant in the middle, it is fully stretched out and hanging on to another ant’s leg through its jaw while another is holding on to it at the other end.
I cannot imagine myself doing that at all – forming a human bridge with somebody so that other people can walk on me to the other side! I can do that figuratively though; serve as a bridge that is. But the ants did it, and I am humbled by that experience.
Build Bridges, Not Walls
After that ant experience, I have always been on the lookout for a repeat performance of that incident, but I have not been lucky yet. I have taken more ant photos doing other activities though. I will share these in another hub.
A Lesson From the Ants
Together, we can accomplish great things. No problem is insurmountable if we hold on together.
For the moment, let us build bridges, not walls and be like the amazing ants.