Friday, July 3, 2009

Ant mega-colony takes over world

Ok, I lifted that blog title directly from the BBC Earth News article, but it was so awesome I felt I had to.

The Institute of Jurassic Technology does tend to talk about the whole invasive/non-native situation in biology. It's an interest of mine. So this article really caught my attention -- as Argentine Ants are spreading world-wide, reaping havoc on local bug populations, like the Reavers of the insect world.

On to the study. In short, researchers pitted ants from different colonies around the world against each other in single ant-on-ant combat. This, of course, was couched in the guise of research but we all know it's exactly the same as fighting spiders in the schoolyard in dixie cups.

The ants from the largest colonies around the world refused to fight. They rubbed antennae and acted like old buddies. Meaning -- they are from the same colony.

This is intense, because that means that this is probably the largest expansion of one cooperative species on Earth outside Humanity itself.

Like humans, Argentine ants show a wide diversity and adaptability in their diet. According to this UC San Diego paper, they switch from being vicious predators to "farmers" of aphids and scale bugs once they are established.

Genius! Come in strong, settle down and start farms. Sound familiar? Like -- oh ancient Rome maybe?

Go Ants!

I mean -- how terrifying.

Enjoy seeing other species succeed using human-like tactics, even if it is kinda evil,


[via my faithful Canukistani operative "Yuri," photo credit in BBC Earth News article]


Sharky said...

I, for one, welcome our insect overlords.

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