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What is a Good Ant Versus a Bad Ant?
Why Thoreau would be a bad ant
Henry David Thoreau would have been a bad ant, because he advocated:
1. Individualism, which threatens the ants’ way of life.
2. Thoreau said,“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
The ants would never be able to get it.
Ants and mankind
Human sized ant civilization would be the worst curse that could ever invade mankind, because:
1. The success of an ant colony depends on its predictability.
2. When challenges arise, ants have fixed ways to deal with them.
3. Individualism has no place for the colony to survive.
Quiz: Which of the three ants below is the most powerful ant?
There are three groups of ants, and each group has its specific functions and skills. The groups of ants are:
The soldier ant
The worker ant
The queen ant
Answer: The worker ant.
Each ant category has a specific job. For example:
1. The queen's job is to procreate some 30,000 eggs annually.
2. The soldier eggs guard the queen, following fixed schedules.
3. The worker ants look for leaves, which they bring to the ant mound, and mix the leaves with fungi -- the only food the ants eat.
Worker ants are powerful because:
1. When the queen gives birth, the worker ants decide which newborns will be workers, and which ones will be soldiers.
2. They do this by controlling the food portions per group. Soldiers are fed more because they are bigger than workers.
Ants are a strictly feminist society
An ant community is strictly feminist.
1. All the ants are sisters.
2. Male ants have wings, because some males will procreate with the queen ant and die. Other male ants can fly away in search of another Queen ant to procreate with, and die.
Female ants still pay their dues
Remember the two child limit in China? The ants have a zero child limit. In sum:
1. Only the queen can give birth.
2. Most workers ants are sterile, but there are exceptions. If a worker ant is pregnant, the other ants will kill it before the ant can give birth.
Surprisingly, ants can become aggressive when colonies are competing. Here is a video by Attenborough to show how they compete:
Ants - Attenborough: Life in the Undergrowth - BBC
When ants in a single colony compete
Ants in a single colony can also compete. This was shown in a lab study that was published in the journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B., where tests were conducted with several ant colonies in one setting. This is what they discovered in some single colonies (as featured in Live Science):
1. Sometimes when it is advantageous to a colony's survival, it will have more than one queen.
2. After the eggs are hatched, the extra queens are killed until only one is left. Sometimes, the workers are overstimulated and end up killing all queens.
3. The workers kill the queens by biting them and releasing an acid spray continually until the queen dies.
Ant colonies are cool to kids
Ants may not be amiable to us, but they are an interesting group of insects to observe. My nephew is fascinated with ants and keeps an ant colony of his own. It is fun to hear his own observations of his colony, because a young one's perspective is always unique and interesting.
Can the queen ant fight for her life?
Not really because:
1. One way a queen tries to survive when she sees that other queen ants are present, is to be "selfish" and produce fewer eggs, so she will have more physical strength to fight back when the worker ants attack her. (Ergo, the more eggs a queen produces, the more weak she becomes physically after giving birth, making more her more vulnerable when the worker ants attack).
2. But workers can detect "selfish" queens, because the more fertile a queen is, the stronger odors she emits.
3. The worker ants can kill the "selfish" queen while she is pregnant.
Ants are more complex than we realize
My nephew read this book about ants and he keeps it with him all the time. I think he might become a scientist someday, or an Asian David Attenborough. Who knows?
Ants compared to humans
Scientist Luke Holman, from the Center for Social Evolution of the University of Copenhagen told LiveScience, "Execution of the most selfish ant queens by workers would increase the incentive for queens to be team-players that work hard to help the colony. This rudimentary 'legal system' could have helped ants to evolve their highly advanced societies, just as in humans."
It disturbs me more than a little that this similarity exists between humans and ants. In fact, if you look at this video, you wonder -- if they were humans, what kind of love story will this be?
Summons of the Queen ant - Ant Attack - BBC
© 2017 Mona Sabalones Gonzalez