Page 1 of 2 [ 18 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

DiffidAnt
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 24 Feb 2022
Gender: Male
Posts: 15

11 Apr 2022, 8:43 am

Does anyone else have an interest in myrmecology? I've been fascinated by ants for many years, and have started to keep a colony. I've also started studying wider aspects of biology, given how crucial ants have been in the co-evolution of other species, such as trees and other insects.

They have dominated many ecosystems for millions of years, in some ways to the same extent as humans, and are of course a social species, although in a very different way to humans.



DeepHour
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 1 Jun 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 53,307
Location: United Kingdom

11 Apr 2022, 4:48 pm

My only significant interaction with ants was in about 1994. I had a large invasion of them in my flat, and had no idea what to do about it. I must have squashed a few hundred of them as they made their way across the kitchen worktop, but I eventually discovered that they were getting in via a crack in the brickwork near the window frame. I bought a can of ant repellant, sprayed it around that area on the outside of the flat, and it was problemo soluto. I don't feel very good now about killing all those creatures, and would like to think I would deal with the situation differently today. Not sure how, though.


_________________
On a mountain range
I'm Doctor Strange


DiffidAnt
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 24 Feb 2022
Gender: Male
Posts: 15

11 Apr 2022, 5:25 pm

Most ants communicate by laying down chemical trails, so probably the most efficient solution, if you can't find the source of where they're coming from, would be to clean the place where you observe them to walk. Killing them would often encourage others, as workers will generally have time to lay down alarm signals when being attacked, or when they become aware of their sisters being attracted.



naturalplastic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 29,118
Location: temperate zone

11 Apr 2022, 7:35 pm

I had an interesting myrmecology experience once.

Moms kitchen had become infested with not one, but two, different species of ants at the same time. One large, and one small. Finally got an exterminator to get rid of them. But during the time we tried to deal with ourself both species could be seen in the kitchen. Sometimes at the same time. One time on patch of counter top I saw big ants milling around forage for food, while at the same time a larger number of the small ants were miling around every which way in the same area often under foot of the big ants. Image that youre atop a ten story building looking down on a city plaza, and its filled with German shepherd milling around every which way, while at the same time a larger number of Jack Russell terriors is also milling around the same plaza, often trotting underneath the shepherds.

Then image that the Jack Russells all hear a dog whistle, and suddenly stop in their tracks. And then...imagine that each jack russell simultaneously grabs the leg of the nearest Shepherd with its teeth, and then...rips the bigger dogs leg right off! Each shepherd has one or more Jack russells pulling at each of its four legs. Then imagine the shepherds all squirming and rolling around on the plaza pavement legless, and helpless while the Jack Russells go for the jugular!

Thats what I saw happen with these ants.

The small ants annihilated the bigger species. Did so in this seemingly coordinated attack.

Moms kitchen was valuable real estate. Worth fighting for.

Cool as anything I ever saw on a nature doc! :D



blazingstar
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Nov 2017
Age: 68
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,696

12 Apr 2022, 5:05 am

If you like ants, you surely know the writings of E.O. Wilson - the world’s expert on myrmecology. This great man passed away just this last holiday season.

I am particularly fascinated by leaf-cutting ants. Also the ants that cultivate, as in actually farm and weed, fungal colonies underground. They eat the fungus. I grew this fungus in college. It has never fruited, or at least was not known to do so at that time. Presumably it lost the ability to do so because of cultivation.


_________________
The cry of the lonely loon, coyotes hollering at the moon,
Wind rustling through the trees, that's the Canadian breeze.
Smoke rising from the fire up to the trees in stately spire
reach for the sky in the evening glow, Sun goes down no north winds blow.

My heart has but one home, from which I'll never roam,
Land of true happiness, Canadian wilderness.
-- Voyageurs Song


DiffidAnt
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 24 Feb 2022
Gender: Male
Posts: 15

12 Apr 2022, 3:44 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
I had an interesting myrmecology experience once.

Moms kitchen had become infested with not one, but two, different species of ants at the same time. One large, and one small. Finally got an exterminator to get rid of them. But during the time we tried to deal with ourself both species could be seen in the kitchen. Sometimes at the same time. One time on patch of counter top I saw big ants milling around forage for food, while at the same time a larger number of the small ants were miling around every which way in the same area often under foot of the big ants. Image that youre atop a ten story building looking down on a city plaza, and its filled with German shepherd milling around every which way, while at the same time a larger number of Jack Russell terriors is also milling around the same plaza, often trotting underneath the shepherds.

Then image that the Jack Russells all hear a dog whistle, and suddenly stop in their tracks. And then...imagine that each jack russell simultaneously grabs the leg of the nearest Shepherd with its teeth, and then...rips the bigger dogs leg right off! Each shepherd has one or more Jack russells pulling at each of its four legs. Then imagine the shepherds all squirming and rolling around on the plaza pavement legless, and helpless while the Jack Russells go for the jugular!

Thats what I saw happen with these ants.

The small ants annihilated the bigger species. Did so in this seemingly coordinated attack.

Moms kitchen was valuable real estate. Worth fighting for.

Cool as anything I ever saw on a nature doc! :D


I like your description! The most dangerous enemies of many ant colonies are other ants, and as you've described, weight of numbers is often the crucial factor, rather than size. Young colonies will often send out raiding parties to destroy other incipient colonies nearby.

There's a YouTube video that I've watched loads of times that demonstrates the power of co-operation against even much larger enemies:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfG0ZZg5Sk4

It is gruesome!



DiffidAnt
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 24 Feb 2022
Gender: Male
Posts: 15

12 Apr 2022, 3:51 pm

blazingstar wrote:
If you like ants, you surely know the writings of E.O. Wilson - the world’s expert on myrmecology. This great man passed away just this last holiday season.

I am particularly fascinated by leaf-cutting ants. Also the ants that cultivate, as in actually farm and weed, fungal colonies underground. They eat the fungus. I grew this fungus in college. It has never fruited, or at least was not known to do so at that time. Presumably it lost the ability to do so because of cultivation.


I do- he was a fantastic scientist, in addition to being a good science writer (the two things don't always coincide). The atta genus, which includes the leaf-cutters, is my favourite genus of ant. To my understanding, they're the most fully social organisms on earth, with the individuals so dependent on each other that they can't survive independently for any amount of time.

I think that ants and humans are probably the species that have influenced the evolution of other species the most, and it is probably no coincidence that both are highly social, although in very different ways.

I have looked into getting a colony of them, but I wanted to keep easier to manage species in the first instance. The leaf-cutters also take up a lot of space.



naturalplastic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 29,118
Location: temperate zone

12 Apr 2022, 9:40 pm

Gosh. Pretty gruesome how those army ants take down that crab.

Also amazing that good sized craps can live on land in the tropics like that. Crabs and ants are actually built quit similarly since both are arthropods. Insects are descended from some shrimplike creatures that ventured onto land.



MindEngine
Hummingbird
Hummingbird

User avatar

Joined: 23 Apr 2022
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Posts: 20
Location: Italy

23 Apr 2022, 12:51 pm

DiffidAnt wrote:
Does anyone else have an interest in myrmecology? I've been fascinated by ants for many years, and have started to keep a colony. I've also started studying wider aspects of biology, given how crucial ants have been in the co-evolution of other species, such as trees and other insects.

They have dominated many ecosystems for millions of years, in some ways to the same extent as humans, and are of course a social species, although in a very different way to humans.


I read the classic work 'Sociobiology' by O. Wilson (now a bit outdated to be honest). He gives a lot of attention of cooperative behavior of animals, of course including that of ants. I find it very fascinating. The idea of the efficiency of a hive's mind compared to individualistic stances always fascinated me.


_________________
It's my weak point, but also my vitality


DiffidAnt
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 24 Feb 2022
Gender: Male
Posts: 15

24 Apr 2022, 11:04 am

MindEngine wrote:
DiffidAnt wrote:
Does anyone else have an interest in myrmecology? I've been fascinated by ants for many years, and have started to keep a colony. I've also started studying wider aspects of biology, given how crucial ants have been in the co-evolution of other species, such as trees and other insects.

They have dominated many ecosystems for millions of years, in some ways to the same extent as humans, and are of course a social species, although in a very different way to humans.


I read the classic work 'Sociobiology' by O. Wilson (now a bit outdated to be honest). He gives a lot of attention of cooperative behavior of animals, of course including that of ants. I find it very fascinating. The idea of the efficiency of a hive's mind compared to individualistic stances always fascinated me.


Wilson was a great author. I was dubious of the concept of sociobiology as it pertained to human culture, however, at least in how some of his followers used the concept.

'Hive mind' can be a misleading term in that it can imply a kind of 'group think', in which individuals aren't making decisions for themselves (not that I'm suggesting you're using the term that way). In fact, decision making in ant colonies is decentralized to the highest degree, as ant castes aren't based on dominance hierarchies, as is the case in other social species, such as canines. In other words, although a worker ant is highly influenced by her sisters, she makes all of her own decisions.



MindEngine
Hummingbird
Hummingbird

User avatar

Joined: 23 Apr 2022
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Posts: 20
Location: Italy

25 Apr 2022, 10:07 am

DiffidAnt wrote:
MindEngine wrote:
DiffidAnt wrote:
Does anyone else have an interest in myrmecology? I've been fascinated by ants for many years, and have started to keep a colony. I've also started studying wider aspects of biology, given how crucial ants have been in the co-evolution of other species, such as trees and other insects.

They have dominated many ecosystems for millions of years, in some ways to the same extent as humans, and are of course a social species, although in a very different way to humans.


I read the classic work 'Sociobiology' by O. Wilson (now a bit outdated to be honest). He gives a lot of attention of cooperative behavior of animals, of course including that of ants. I find it very fascinating. The idea of the efficiency of a hive's mind compared to individualistic stances always fascinated me.


Wilson was a great author. I was dubious of the concept of sociobiology as it pertained to human culture, however, at least in how some of his followers used the concept.

'Hive mind' can be a misleading term in that it can imply a kind of 'group think', in which individuals aren't making decisions for themselves (not that I'm suggesting you're using the term that way). In fact, decision making in ant colonies is decentralized to the highest degree, as ant castes aren't based on dominance hierarchies, as is the case in other social species, such as canines. In other words, although a worker ant is highly influenced by her sisters, she makes all of her own decisions.


The original work of Wilson does not relate directly to human societies but for social phenomenon in animal world. The extension to human societies is due to evolutionary theory but it's a sort of spin off of the issue, not at all useful to study the issue at hand.
A Hive mind does not mean - in my knowledge of the concept - that there's a high-hierarchy but rather than individual choices of the community are fully harmonized with the scope of the social community they belong. It's much more like a behavioral fractal in which the individual possess a fragment that is somehow identical to the whole picture. Even in hives, the queen does not supersede on the activities of the bees, (she would become crazy if not). But individual bees pursue their task in full harmony with the goals of the hive. Basically this means that social organization does not rely on competition like in human society, where each 'band' try to maximize his own utily even by reducing other's utility rate, but rather on willfull cooperation of the members. (there's are some genetical reasons for that and this is drilled in detail in Wilson's works).


_________________
It's my weak point, but also my vitality


DiffidAnt
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 24 Feb 2022
Gender: Male
Posts: 15

25 Apr 2022, 1:09 pm

MindEngine wrote:
DiffidAnt wrote:
MindEngine wrote:
DiffidAnt wrote:
Does anyone else have an interest in myrmecology? I've been fascinated by ants for many years, and have started to keep a colony. I've also started studying wider aspects of biology, given how crucial ants have been in the co-evolution of other species, such as trees and other insects.

They have dominated many ecosystems for millions of years, in some ways to the same extent as humans, and are of course a social species, although in a very different way to humans.


I read the classic work 'Sociobiology' by O. Wilson (now a bit outdated to be honest). He gives a lot of attention of cooperative behavior of animals, of course including that of ants. I find it very fascinating. The idea of the efficiency of a hive's mind compared to individualistic stances always fascinated me.


Wilson was a great author. I was dubious of the concept of sociobiology as it pertained to human culture, however, at least in how some of his followers used the concept.

'Hive mind' can be a misleading term in that it can imply a kind of 'group think', in which individuals aren't making decisions for themselves (not that I'm suggesting you're using the term that way). In fact, decision making in ant colonies is decentralized to the highest degree, as ant castes aren't based on dominance hierarchies, as is the case in other social species, such as canines. In other words, although a worker ant is highly influenced by her sisters, she makes all of her own decisions.


The original work of Wilson does not relate directly to human societies but for social phenomenon in animal world. The extension to human societies is due to evolutionary theory but it's a sort of spin off of the issue, not at all useful to study the issue at hand.
A Hive mind does not mean - in my knowledge of the concept - that there's a high-hierarchy but rather than individual choices of the community are fully harmonized with the scope of the social community they belong. It's much more like a behavioral fractal in which the individual possess a fragment that is somehow identical to the whole picture. Even in hives, the queen does not supersede on the activities of the bees, (she would become crazy if not). But individual bees pursue their task in full harmony with the goals of the hive. Basically this means that social organization does not rely on competition like in human society, where each 'band' try to maximize his own utily even by reducing other's utility rate, but rather on willfull cooperation of the members. (there's are some genetical reasons for that and this is drilled in detail in Wilson's works).



Thank you for the clarification. Your interpretation is similar to mine, I think some of the terms have become confused through misuse, but your explanation above is very good.



JustFoundHere
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 13 Jan 2018
Age: 59
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,728
Location: California

28 May 2022, 3:03 pm

Just how much can an ant lift - hundreds, thousands of times their body weight?



naturalplastic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 26 Aug 2010
Age: 67
Gender: Male
Posts: 29,118
Location: temperate zone

28 May 2022, 3:30 pm

I recall reading that somewhere. That an ant can lift X numbers times its weight. I think that the figure was fifty.

Also that theyve gotten bees to pull little carts...that can weigh 300 times the bees' weight. :o



Fenn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 1 Sep 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,613
Location: Pennsylvania

31 May 2022, 12:11 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
I recall reading that somewhere. That an ant can lift X numbers times its weight. I think that the figure was fifty.

Also that theyve gotten bees to pull little carts...that can weigh 300 times the bees' weight. :o


Who got the bees to pull the carts?

The Ants?


_________________
ADHD-I(diagnosed) ASD-HF(undiagnosed - maybe)
RDOS scores - Aspie score 131/200 - neurotypical score 69/200 - very likely Aspie


Fenn
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 1 Sep 2014
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,613
Location: Pennsylvania

31 May 2022, 12:13 pm

1. There are over 12,000 ant species worldwide

Ranging from the ant you might find scuttling across your picnic to the ants building underground fortresses in the rainforest, to flying ants!
2. The bullet ant is said to have the most painful sting in the world!

Living in humid jungle conditions such as the Amazon, their sting has been compared to being hit by a bullet – ouch!
3. Fire ants cause over £3 billion worth of damage a year!

North America’s red imported fire ant might only be little, but the tiny critters have a painful bite which causes a burning sensation – hence the name “fire ant”, which costs the US millions in veterinary and medical bills every year! They’ve also been known to cause damage to farmer’s crops.
4. Ants are the longest living insects

Unlike some bugs who might only live for days or even hours, the queen ant of one particular species – the Pogonomyrmex Owyheei – can live up to 30 years – so be careful not to stand on her!
5. The ant is one of the world’s strongest creatures in relation to its size

A single ant can carry 50 times its own bodyweight, and they’ll even work together to move bigger objects as a group!
Facts about ants
Ants carry leaves and twigs back to their nests!
6. Ants hold the record for the fastest movement in the animal kingdom

The aptly named species of trap jaw ant, can close its jaws at 140mph, which it uses to kill its prey or injure predators. Image if that bit you on the bum!
7. Ants can be found on every single continent except Antarctica

Ironic really, when you consider the name…
8. Ants are social insects which live in colonies

The colony, also called a formicary, is made up of one or more egg-laying queens and a large amount of female “worker” ants who tend to her, build and maintain the nest, forage for food and and care for the young.

Male ants have wings and their only function is to mate with the queen.
9. Ants don’t have ears, and some of them don’t have eyes!

Ants “listen” by feeling vibrations from the ground through their feet, and eye-less ants such as the driver ant species can communicate by using their antennae!

Plus, they can send chemical signals (called pheremones) released through their body to send messages to other ants! They send out warnings when danger’s near, leave trails of pheremones leading to food sources and even use them to attract a mate – a sort of ant love potion!
10. The largest ant’s nest ever found was over 3,700 miles wide!

Found in Argentina in 2000, the ginormous colony housed 33 ant populations which had merged into one giant supercolony, with millions of nests and billions of workers!

Source:
https://www.natgeokids.com/uk/discover/ ... ant-facts/


_________________
ADHD-I(diagnosed) ASD-HF(undiagnosed - maybe)
RDOS scores - Aspie score 131/200 - neurotypical score 69/200 - very likely Aspie