April 26, 2005

Almost human

I'm always interested when an animal shows ingenuity, intelligence and/or cunning almost on a par with humans. You gotta keep an eye out, or they'll start taking over the world.

Amazonian ants are known to farm fungus, but here is species of ant that builds a sophisticated "fibreglass" trap to attract larger insects and then executes a coordinated ambush, first physically immobilising, then chemically stunning, and finally killing their prey. If radioactive bombs could create giant ants (Them!), face it, we'd all be fucked.

There's a video of the trap in action. The target animal appears to be a larger ant.

The worker ants hide in the holes of this death trap with their mouths open wide, waiting for locusts, butterflies or other insects to land. When prey arrives they quickly seize its extremities, pulling on legs, arms and antennae until the hostage is rendered immobile. Once trapped, other ants from the colony arrive to sting and bite the prey until it is paralyzed
Then presumably it is eaten. Grisly indeed. It sort of ruins your cute and cuddly ant cartoons with Z and Flick becoming the clone army of devastation. We should wipe them out before they wipe us out.

Joking, I'm not a complete xenophobe, I just don't like ants. I think I'd make a great entomologist. You get paid to drug and kill insects to pin against a board... BWAHAHAHAHAHA
(anyone who collects bugs and simultaneous reflects on how amazing and beautiful these animals are, deserves a kick in the danglies)

PS - Muppet Fashion


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