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April 21, 2010

An Ant Superhighway

"Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man." - Proverbs 6:6-11

There are four things which are little upon the earth but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.” - Proverbs 30:24-28

We have to remember that it is God Himself that considers the ants as wise. And in their being wise, they no longer need any ruler, or leader, for them to enjoy a sophisticated way of life.

Do you know that the ants’ dwelling place is even air-conditioned? They are storing food for the entire duration of the rainy season. They have their own knowledge in agriculture. They collect organic matters, which serve as their food during the lengthy rainy season.

Do you know that the ants that we see everyday are mostly female? They live in a colony that is made up of more than one million members, workers, and soldiers that are all females. The male ants die after the queen ant fertilizes. The queen ant’s only duty is to lay about 50,000 to 100,000 eggs a day.

According to studies conducted by zoologists, there about 12 million to 14 million kinds of ants in our planet. And like humans, they are found in almost all habitable places, except in mountains that are covered with ice, and in the polar region. Based on studies, the ants have unusual physical features. Their head is made of a special sensor that easily identifies chemical and visual signs. In addition, they have about half a million nerve cells in their brain. They have a keen vision and a sensitive hair that responds to anything attached to it. Their teeth are as sharp as a carving tool. They have strong muscles that allow their six legs to move. When needed, they are able to secrete liquid from their special glands that warn their companions in case of an impeding danger. Out of their poison glands, they are able to discharge formic acid and other poisons, which they use against their enemies. Their antenna functions as their nose and fingers.

Within 24 hours, they are able to build their houses. And this lasts for more than a month, and this is where their queen lay eggs. There is another colony of ants, which is called “army ants,” that build their houses neither on the ground nor on trees. Their bodies linked together serve as a shelter for their queen. About 200,000 to 750,000 ants link their bodies together in order to cover the queen and her young. But when morning comes, the separate. Other ants, however, live underground.

According to reports, the ants are able to dig about 40 tons of soil in order to build their gigantic home. A colony of ants can maintain 150 houses, and they are able to patrol 1,600 square metes. The territory of ants is one of the biggest in the world of insects. The soldier ants stay only on the sides of their house in order to guard it from attacks of enemies. Should enemies come, they send a signal that could be smelled by their comrades so that they could be given reinforcement. They surround their enemies and spit on them formic acid. And when they are killed, they bring them to their camp to be eaten.

Do you know that ants are able to communicate and send messages to their colleagues by means of a liquid called “pheromone”? This is the reason why when an ant discovers food deposits, it could easily call on its companions who would gather them.