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Ant Questions! (Direct Me)


#21

This goes for most insects afaik, but why are ants always going as high as they can? When I have one check my hand out they always run up :slight_smile: (I can understand that for insects with wings, not so much regular ant workers)

Also how come some are extremely hectic and prone to running off edges and falling? I understand there are different kinds of workers, but this ultra hectic behaviour doesn’t seem useful at all haha


#22

Honeypot ants are found in North America, Mexico as well as Australia. What makes their abdomens stretch has to do with the structure of the insect abdomen.


an insect’s exoskeleton may look like a single hard shell, but in reality it is a series of scale-like plates that cover the gut (this image of a cockroach is very helpful for showing this). In a typical ant, these plates have quite a bit of overlap, but as the ant fills its stomach more and more, the skin between these plates “stretches” and the plates are pushed apart by the gut’s contents. Honeypot ants just keep on feeding liquids to certain ants (called “repletes”) which store the food in their abdomen until they swell to extreme size. Other ants however can still have expanded abdomens (also sometimes called gasters), just typically not to the same extremes. The northern equivalent of the honeypot ant is Prenolepsis the wintering fat-belly ant.

@Four , I will have to do some research into the erratic behavior, but I think the climbing can probably be explained with some reading on ant exploratory behavior (they tend to look for boundaries in enclosed spaces). But I will double check and write a full report in a bit.


#23

Hmm… I’m really liking these ants. Not sure why :thinking:
:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Or should my appropriate response be that I would avenge them? :laughing:

Edit: Thanks for the info! I’ve always thought ants were pretty cool :blush:


#24

Sony has enough money to buy take two?


#25

That’s so cool! Thanks!


#26

how long before those SA jungle militant killer ants make their march to the rest of the globe and swarm humankind (becoming the new dominant species) -and could they adapt/survive the cooler northern climate if they “decided” to invade ?:thinking:
(ie. AM I SAFE IN SCANDINAVIA FROM THESE VERY REAL but tiny MONSTERS?) :scream:


#27

To first try and address @Four 's question: some ants simply move way faster than other ants. The Formica ants especially move quite quickly. And as I mentioned in Coralinecastell’s question above ants can cling to surfaces using those claws and hairs at the ends of their legs. The faster an ant moves the more likely they are to ‘misstep’ (the same is true of people, which is why you shouldn’t run on ice or uneven surfaces). So depending on the species ants may not be ‘jumping off edges’ as much as they are falling off by accident. Larger ants are even more likely to fall than small ones, but some small ones can also fall.

The hectic behavior in question may just be because you are a big scary shadow, that disturbs the ants and causes them to try and run away (or seek shelter). Them falling off the ledge may have less to do with the speed of their motion and more to do with them trying to get far away from you.

To return to the question of why climb up? Ants are big on determining the boundaries of a space (especially trying to determine the extent of their own territory) rather than what a space contains. This helps a colony take up the largest territory possible, at least theoretically. Of course, taller objects like blades of grass or other plants tend to have insects on them, so a foraging ant looking for some food would be wise to climb up those structures looking for insects.

@yoel666 I don’t consider myself educated on the topic, but I doubt Sony has the liquid assets on hand to simply buy take two, especially given the fact that GTA 5 is the most profitable entertainment product ever. However, if they were willing to mobilize some of their physical
investments or other forms of capital I don’t doubt that Sony could make a pretty good offer.
To answer this question with ants, I am going to take a page out of ‘Bunnies & Burrows’, and say that to the ant (which can count the number of steps between them and their nest in order to find their way back home https://www.livescience.com/871-ants-marching-count-steps.html Oh,@yitzilitt that’s another one… the stilt experiment was still big when I was entering grad school) both Take two and sony’s respective cashflows would be huge and immense distances they wouldn’t ever consider walking, the influx of respective cash would be on par with the caloric intake of the biggest ant colonies on the planet. I doubt ants would consider it “normal” for those two companies to try and merge into one. In normal ant colonies the only reason for those sorts of interactions is that one of the companies would be feeling incredible stress from another direction and had no other choice but to try and muscle in on the territory of the other colony. Ant colonies create little zones of ‘no mans land’ between them and typically have very little actual combat between colonies of the same species.

@Gnuffi I am unsure what ants you are referring to, the bullet ant perhaps? Or maybe some internet invented army ant? Ants have already shown themselves to be quite adaptable to cooler climates, and with global climate change they are likely to be able to enter further north. The biggest issue facing the northern expanse of SA jungle ants would be the loss in biodiversity that the are so dependent on. The main reason so many tropical ants are so big and so ‘exotic’ is the huge food availability the colony can access year round. So as the ants go north they are likely to grow smaller, as they have less food available to them. Also, if they were to expand up into NA they might face some issues from the already invasive species (especially the 2-3 argentine ant colonies that make up all of California).

Antwiki identifies 75 ant species known to Sweden, so Scandinavia certainly has some potential for new ant species to join the mix. http://www.antwiki.org/wiki/Sweden

In all honesty, you have more to fear from the smaller invasive ants that plague many port cities moving in to city spaces.


#28


remember seeing something about them marching/“moving colony” quite far too, and sorta “laying areas bare” in their wake :joy:
-sounds kinda like scary little critters :sweat_smile:

#29

If you want to learn more about them… Gotwald is your man. http://www.antwiki.org/wiki/Gotwald,_William_H.,_Jr. (Link is now broken, will find new one at some point).

He wrote the book on army ants, quite a good read in my opinion.
As to if they could manage in particularly cold climates… It doesn’t seem likely, the furthest north they go is probably South of Central USA. They tend to be found in deserts/jungles. A shame if you ask me.

Fun fact you might not know: army ants actually support entire subcommunities of myrmecophilic insects and arthropods (like there are a tremendous number of organisms that are ‘hangers on’ around an army ant colony, and they are not found anywhere else. Like silverfish, beetles and others.)

Trigger warning for @coralinecastell more ant feet (sort of):

They even have their own species of mites


But the coolest mites actually latch onto the feet of army ants, and the mite is found to be a more effective gripping surface than their normal claws, so the ants tolerate them!
image

But army ants even have birds that follow in their wake and catch insects that fly away from the advancing armies. https://blog.oup.com/2011/11/ant-following-birds/