Ants Are Amazing

[A]ll of California’s Argentine ants belong to only four colonies. The largest, euphemistically named the Very Large Colony, contains hundreds of billions, if not trillions, of ants, and extends from the Mexican border to San Francisco. In the largest battles ever recorded, millions of ants die each month along this colony’s border with its rivals in San Diego County.

That’s from this article by Mark W Moffett that describes his book Adventures Among Ants.

In 2010 Wired took a cool look at Looting, Cannibalism and Death Blows: The ‘Shock and Awe’ of Ant Warfare.

Finally as a 2013 update, there’s a new boss in town, the Asian needle ant which is literally eating Argentine ants for lunch:

All ants essentially hibernate when wintertime hits, but the Asian needle ants “wake up before other ant species wake up,” Spicer-Rice explained.

This head start allows them to build nests, find sources of food, and start reproducing before the other ants get going.

Amazing ant photo by János Csongor Kerekes and CC-licensed.

5 thoughts on “Ants Are Amazing

  1. I was told by my father that when I was 2-3 years old I had a rather controversial hobby – I was always watching the ants minding their own business. Yes, my parents became slightly worried about the young-ling emotional and cognitive development as they took this as a warning sign of me having Asperger or something – but that didn’t happened. Furthermore I not only observed their daily runaround but I also took the liberty to dig their nest out with my plastic shovel until I found their eggs – which I happily collected.

    That was ages ago though, since then I stopped distributing ant habitats yet my fascination still exists. Despite of this interest I embarked on geospatial career rather becoming an ant-ologyst. Still I went on Amazon and read through the introduction and the sample chapters and to be honest I really liked the tone of the book. While going through the chapter I had a thought – what sort of web-based, public habitat mapping has been carried out to present the current area of the colonies and would that be a good idea to create a time-series to present their movement/development, battle locations, etc in a form of a mapping application?

    I guess this question should have been asked from the author rather here on this blog, but hey – one never know what the author has come across beforehand. 🙂