One of the most fascinating statistics that I have come across relates to the comparison of the human population to that of ants. Ants are said to outnumber us a million to one and their weight together outweighs ours. Now that’s a staggering truth to say the least. Their brains are larger than all other insects and the intellect that it contains rivals that of a computer. With all that going for them, they are squashed and pressed down to size on a daily basis; so here’s to you mighty ants.
Queen Is Mightier Than The Sword
Males are the weaker gender in the Ant world. When the queen is mating she has several kings that contribute to the courtship. There is enough sperm stored up to last her for over 30 years. Once the male ants have served their purpose, they quickly die off. She then births thousands of ants to populate her kingdom. Her eggs are either fertilized or not, those that are not are males. Consequently, the females are born sterile. They are doomed to the life of being a worker ant only.
There are four stages in the life of an ant. They evolve from egg, larvae, pupae to adult. Sticky eggs hold the tiny ants inside which keeps them bonded together. In the first two stages of their evolution they are susceptible to the cold. The poor worker ant must carry them back and forth between the nest and nest’s surface so that the eggs are always at a comfortable temperature.
Normally ants live in a systematized, laborious tranquility. The younger ants are responsible for looking after the queen and larvae, and then are promoted to such jobs as digging or engineering. As they grow older their jobs become more dangerous such as security or pilfering. Because they are constantly cross training into different jobs; they are always ready for any impending emergency.
All ants are not as civilized; the Polyergus rufescens species take over other ant colonies and steal their small ants. According to Sir John Lubbock, a chronicler of Ant Behavior , the slave making ants depend so much on their slaves that if not fed by them they would die.
Brothers and Sisters In Arms
Lubbock had a belief that ants possessed the ability to protect and defend their own. To test his theory; he chose two sets of ants from different colonies and used whiskey to scramble their senses. After submerging them in the alcohol, he placed them on an island inhabited by ants of half of his subjects. Although surprised by this new development; the sober ants quickly evaluated the situation and moved swiftly to their aid. They identified their drunken sisters, carried them away from the others and took them home to recuperate. The other drunkards from outside of their colony were thrown in the moat.
The ant is one of the most industrious and organized of all species. Their intellect makes them the smartest of all the insects and they really look out for their own. So the next time you see an ant, don’t step on it, instead step aside. Give them their due, they deserve it.