Monday, April 27, 2009

ANT FACT MONDAY: SPECIAL EDITION

"A VISIT FROM THE QUEEN"

The other week I noticed a little movement on top of my fridge. Upon closer inspection I found this:




After some observation I came to think it might be a queen ant looking for a nest. I'm not really sure though. Perhaps someone out there can help me.

In either case I treated it with the respect royalty deserves. I didn't really want a nest in my kitchen so I took the possible queen out the back and recommended some more attractive real estate options.

ON TO THE FACTS:

The South American Trap-Jaw ant can snap its mandibles at up to 145 miles an hour or 100,000 the force of gravity - the fastest predatory strike in the animal kingdom. The force it generates is 300 times the ant's weight. It can also use the striking mandibles to fling itself up into the air - covering up to 40 centrimetres horizontally. I wish I could do this.

An ant can survive being microwaved. This is because microwaves send out, um, waves, and the ant can sense where the waves are high temperature and where they're low. They just run around the hot bits.

Equilibrioception, the sense of balance we possess to help us tell which way is up, seems to be based on some fluid in the inner ear if my patchy knowledge serves me. I'm pretty sure ants don't have ears, letter alone inner ones. This makes me wonder if they even know which way is up, and how. Maybe it's why they have no problem climbing really high and sometimes upside down.

Also: could an ant get dizzy? I don't think so. Maybe this is related to the same fact (not a fact, obviously, more a supposition).

The Yellow Crazy Ant has one of the best names in the ant phone book.

Ants and butterflies don't get along. Ants will bust the ass of any loser butterfly if it so much as looks at them the wrong way. Make no mistake: Ants are mean mofos with a grudge. But one family of butterflies, the Lycaenidae, have brokered a deal with ants and the two need each other to live. Ants shepherd the butterfly larvae to particular plants that they can feed from, and help raise them to the beautiful, fluttery beings who eat the living shit out of my vegetable garden. In exchange, the caterpillars secrete a boozy juice that gets the ants all hopped up and happy. So in short, ants are willing to lend a hand if it means they can all tie on one and have a knees up at the end of the day.

And that's the end of ANT FACT MONDAY. For today.

Thanks queen!

6 comments:

Live Butterfly said...

Live Butterfly Garden That's Good!!

dell said...

I don't believe they can survive a microwave, but also don't want to test this theory...

can they really?

Born Dancin' said...

According to my reading they're totally safe in a microwave (so are some other bugs). Not safe in large numbers though.

On the other hand, I don't recommend anyone put it to the test either, just in case.

Princess B said...

You can eat this ant's bum. It's known by indigenous Australians as traditional Lemsip. High in citric acid or something...

http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/Green%20Tree%20Ant.jpg

Born Dancin' said...

The Green Ant was mentioned in a previous Ant Fact Monday. Plus Princess B you are quite aware that I have sampled the Green Ant (without killing it). That is all.

Princess B said...

But I was trying to be helpful to all ant afficionadoes!

*epic fail*