Alright you fools, here's your required dose of anty trivia. Although - it must be said - sometimes I wonder why I bother. Not that you don't appreciate it, but I do on sleepless nights wonder if it's not like dishing out gruel to Dickensian urchins only to find that, over time, they have come to love the stuff, to crave it even, and eventually to lose sight of the fact that there may be more to life than this. Am I the prison warden, my ant facts the kind treatment that makes this insufferable jail-time somehow manageable? Such is the internet.
In any case, I am not open to replies. I must simply ladle out my facts and keep my concerns to myself. If anyone should care to produce an Ant Fact Monday theme song, possibly called "Born, I'm Antly Dancin'" then perhaps ('mayhaps'?) I may reconsider this stance ('stants').
There's a fungus which turns ants into zombies.
When infected, the ant is compelled to wander away from its colony and attach itself to a plant.
The ant eventually dies and the fungus emerges as a growth from the ant's head which drops spores to the ground.
More ants come across the spores and themselves become infected as zombies.
The cycle of unlife continues.
The inventively-named Large Blue Butterfly of northern Europe was until recently near extinction.
Scientists have discovered that the butterfly's disappearance was linked to cruel farming practices.
Farmers in the 1950s killed a lot of rabbits with myxomatosis. As a result, grass grew a little taller, since the rabbits weren't munching on it.
The grass - now longer by less than an inch - cooled the soil below by a degree or two. The local red ant population wasn't keen on the chill and moved away.
But while nobody likes ants, everybody seems to like butterflies.
The Large Blue Butterfly is a bit of a leech on the red ant population, since Blue Butterfly caterpillars have learnt to imitate the sounds of little red ants. The ants look after the caterpillars and nurture them, even while the caterpillars are feasting on the ants. Eventually the grub becomes a beautiful butterfly and takes to the skies.
Someone worked this out and brought cows in to graze on these grasses, and now the ants and the butterflies are back.
CONCLUSION: Ants are stupid but sort of kind. Butterflies, on the other hand, are merciless bastards.
THIS THEME MAY BE CONTINUED IN A FUTURE SERIES ENTITLED "WTF GARDENING or WHAT MY VEGIE PATCH HAS TAUGHT ME ABOUT THE WORLD".