Friday, July 2, 2010

Oh, It's Just an Ant... Hey! What th'! Gaaaack!

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0011331#pone-0011331-g001
Last week, video
Purdue entomologists were, it seemed, a little unnerved to find that, in an urban environment, ants will form colonies thousands of times larger than they do when they live in a forest. They pointed out that ant colonies, made up of millions of individuals, unobtrusive by themselves, should really be thought of as one, big animal. Now this:
New research reveals the ambush strategy Azteca andreae captured here (oh I can't get the damn photo to show up completely the email. Less dramatically, here is the link https://email.aibs.org/service/home/~/?auth=co&id=95372&part=1.2.2) which shows 8350 worker ants who, in early morning and then again in late evening, hide with their mandibles open, side-by-side on the shaggy underside of their Cecropia obtusaant host's leaf margins - the leaves' loop-shaped hair anchoring the ants' hook-shaped claws, Hanging on and "waiting for insects to alight," says the rather poetic report.

Everybody was probably made pretty introspective by what the ants did next - see video Really rather horrible what with the cicadas whirring and French Guiana dripping all over the place, a lot of tussle. It took hours they said, with the moth still struggling a little in the morning (see photo A). Bakersfield is surely next.

Well then! So! Have a happy holiday. Liz

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