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I'm going to dedicate a topic to one of the world's most successful organisms, the ant. 

 

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This is the Argentine Ant(Linepithema humile) which has former invasive "supercolonies" on multiple continents. It amazes me that some of the invasive ants have formed supercolonies, it seems like a parallel to human city-states aligning with one another to form countries.

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There are more traits that seemingly connect ants with humans. Ants are one of the few creatures to wage wars, against other ants and against other species outside the ant family such as termites. The way ants conduct war is also quite sophisticated as they seem to have evolved a way of fighting which looks like they expend weaker forces while concentrating stronger individual ants which are spared. All this without any real command structure. 

 

I'm not going to go further into details but here are other interesting ant-stuff.

  • Slavery of particular ant species by others
  • Complex inter-species relations which are blurred between parasitism, commensalism, and mutualism. 
  • Utilization of agriculture and farming
  • Different caste system, but seeming equality(even with the queen, which can be ousted by workers or other queens). In a way you can describe ants as Marxist. 
  • Differences in defense mechanisms among species, some that are really strange such as suicidal bombing, deadly venom, and jaws that can reach 230 kmh.
  • The "hive mind" decision making. Possible ability to learn en masse. 
  • The suspected biomass of the ant family is to be close to the world's human biomass. However collecting data for this is rather tedious as measuring all the dead ants falling out of an insecticide fogged tree in the rainforest. 
  • Some ants have been documented risking their own lives in order to save other ants from antlions, which is rather altruistic of them. Wouldn't expect that from a eusocial species. 

 

I have personally documented 6 different species of ant on my property, 2 of which I believe are invasive(RIFA & Argentine). 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cool stuff. 

My wife hates ants, they don't bother me at all, I've even eaten them to gross her out. :D  

I've eaten ants by accident. Left a soda can out at dark, came back to take a swig of some Coca Cola and a healthy serving of ants along with it. 

 

Ants seem like a viable protein source for regions that find it unfeasible to have beef or pork, much lower energy needed to sustain ant populations. I would totally eat a good antburger. 

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I've eaten ants by accident. Left a soda can out at dark, came back to take a swig of some Coca Cola and a healthy serving of ants along with it. 

 

Ants seem like a viable protein source for regions that find it unfeasible to have beef or pork, much lower energy needed to sustain ant populations. I would totally eat a good antburger. 

 

As mentioned: formic acid. Not good stuff in large quantities.

 

Also ant-related: my third-favourite toxin! Oh ponerotoxin, you induce such long-lasting agony...

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I don't know why he turned the cast upside down, but I've only ever poured gasoline down fire ant hills so seeing the extensive catacombs is pretty cool. I remember seeing this be done with some South American ant colony which massive

 

The thing about ants is that there are numerous different territorial strategies and colony designs among ants. I'm particularly impressed with the African Weaver Ant's territorial control over a 3D area of forest spanning multiple trees as can be read about here

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It's probably easier to support upside down - the uppermost tunnels/chambers ought to be larger and better connected

I would think that it would be possible to turn it right-side up without that much trouble. I don't cast anthills so it might very well be putting the cast in jeopardy. 

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IIRC there was a research, that shown that bees can understand color code ("blue dot on this box means food") and i am not really surprised that ants have some level of self-awareness. 

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