Timothy McGrath has a phd from Harvard University. The is currently a Lecturer in history and literature at Harvard and also specializes in the history of pet advocacy.
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December 4th was worldwide Cheetah Day. Ho hum. I barely noticed since I to be celebrating worldwide Ant Day, similar to I execute every day.
Ants are easy to overlook. Most world will kill an ant and not care at all. Well, did you recognize ants deserve to kill elephants and also they have the right to kill you, too? So clock out, son.
We have to be life in awe and fear of these tiny tiny guys. They carry out amazing things. Let"s visit their tiny kingdom and also see the amazing things they can do!
Here room 5 that the most amazing ants top top Earth.
1) Driver ant
One that the many terrifying types of all the types on planet is the driver ant. These central and east African natives are referred to as the safari ant, or the siafu ant in Swahili. Castle have giant heads and giant jaws. They form massive swarms and also will kill you.
They space nomadic conquerors, favor tiny small Mongols. They don’t build complex ant swarms (though they construct temporary colonies) and hang around for the remainder of your boring small lives. Up to 50 million of them will certainly swarm up when they require food. With a brisk marching speed of 66 feet per hour, you finest run (or at the very least walk in ~ a leisurely pace) or you’ll end up choose this grasshopper.
Not awed? no afraid? Watch this driver ants build a large ant bridge made the their very own ant body to overcome water and then kill A CRAB.
It’s not always this awesome being a driver ant. Are you a male driver ant? Well, climate life sort of sucks for you. Because that example, when it"s time because that queen ants come mate, an army of motorists will ambush you, tear off her wings and carry you back to the queen who will have actually her method with you till you die.
Other interesting and scary fact: the jaws the driver ants are so solid that some tribes in eastern Africa use driver ants as emergency suture.
2) Leafcutter ant
Leafcutters are means stronger than you. They obtain their name because they use their substantial jaws to tear away pieces of living vegetation. They then use their insane strength to lug haul the is as much as 20-times their body weight back to your nests.
Lifting isn’t the only thing leafcutters are better at than you. They space also far better gardeners. Friend figured they’re eating those huge leaves? Nope, they’re composting them until they thrive fungus: a fungus that have the right to only survive in their nest and also that is supposedly delicious.
These bacterial horticulturists eat 20 percent the the total annual vegetation expansion of south American forests. However they deserve it, since they are farming lots of the vegetation themselves.
3) Honeypot ant
These men are sort of amazing and also kind of disgusting. You’ll uncover them in the desert areas of Australia, Africa and North America. Honeypot ants gain their name since some of lock gorge ~ above nectar and also honeydew till their abdomen (called a gaster) becomes massively bloated and then other ants feed on them.
These caste that ants, well-known as “repletes,” save the delicious sweets for when the nest is low on food. Hungry ants will certainly stroke a replete’s antenna and also it will respond through puking up part sugary goodness. The gaster never ever shrinks come its initial size, so many repletes die shortly after their keep of food has been offered up.
That’s seriously on some dystopian sci-fi level ideal there.
4) Acacia ant
Acacia ants live in central America. They are eco-friendly heroes and also tragic addicts. They get their name since of your alliance with the Acacia tree. The tree to produce delicious nectar and the ants display their gratitude by living in the tree together bodyguards, defending it from a variety of threats.
What a beautiful friendship, right? no exactly.
It turns out the Acacia trees"s nectar includes an enzyme that produces chemistry dependency in the ants. For this reason they are basically drugged increase captives working for their next fix.
A remarkable story that ecological symbiosis that turned out to it is in a horrifying instance of kidnapping and chemical brainwashing.
5) cartridge ant
Last yet definitely, definitely, definitely not least: the cartridge ant. The bullet ant resides in the tropical of southern America. Castle can more than an customs long and also have the most powerful sting of any kind of other insect, follow to the Schmidt Sting pain Index, which ranking stings top top a scale of 1 come 4+.
The index was devised by Justin Schmidt, a biologist indigenous Arizona, who enabled himself to be i stabbed it by over 150 insects. The bullet ant beat out the Tarantula Hawk and Warrior Wasp because that worst sting.
According come Schmidt, the Tarantula Hawk’s sting feels like a 20,000 volt shock. A sting native the cartridge ant, on the various other hand, will “make you want to place down and also die,” the said. “You are just screaming in pain and also agony.” other victims have actually said the sting feels prefer being shot, hence the name, bullet ant.
In Brazil, the Satere-Mawe people practice a male coming-of-age routine that requires woven gloves packed with bullet ants. Boys have to keep their hands in the gloves because that ten minutes to become a warrior. It’s reportedly a pretty unpleasant point that requires paralysis, work of uncontrollable shaking, wanting come lay down and also die, and also screaming in pain and also agony.
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Not persuaded that ants room amazing? watch renowned Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson demonstrate how ants usage chemical trails to connect information and also guide every other. Sure, it"s not precisely killing a crab that"s a thousands times your size yet it"s pretty amazing.