I was randomly rambling through a bio diversity park after first rain of the season. Rain had brought the temperature bit down too. I was then following the ants track. It is always fun to watch the ants in an open field. The way they carry food, move the dry mud, make a hole down the earth etc all amazing acts of nature’s creature. Especially when they are more active after the first rains in tropical climate. They always keep on moving doing something for their colony and family.
The worker ants were moving to & fro their colony. I also found the entry to their colony. Looked mysterious. I wonder how it would look like inside. They say ant colony is very well organised.
I suddenly noticed a several groups of ants not doing anything. I was intrigued. I had never witnessed ants keeping quiet. I know they are workaholic type. It was a strange view.
They were just sitting (rather standing) as if they were in transcendental meditation. There were many such groups – just doing nothing. Ants by the way do not sit – I read. They always stand. If they are found sitting – they must be dying – I read on internet. They were little bigger in size compared to the other ants who were working (I mean doing something walking in the line) I have no clue as to why they were keeping quiet.
I thought they were sleeping, but not. Were they resting ? Looked like. May be they were queen ants, hence not supposed to work. But I guess that there is one queen per colony.
The very appearance of these quiet ants provoked me to ask whether the ants sleep.
I started reading about Ants. The entomology journals, blogs, science articles – of course everything on net.
There are many interesting things about the Ants.
- There are about 12000 types of species of ants.
- They can carry weight upto 20 times of their body weight.
- There are queen, worker, male, slaves, scouts, medic, soldiers etc.
- The queen does not have to work like bringing food, storing etc. Her job is only to produce kids. In her life time of 25 to 30 years (yes they do live for 30 years unless you stomp on it) she gives birth to millions of kids.
- Males job is only to mate the queen and then die thereafter. They do not live long after.
- Workers – of course have to work. They are Scouts, Medic, soldiers, etc.
- They are excellent coordinated workers. Excellent team workers. They communicate chemically and also found to make some kind of sound as well as part of communication.
- Ants do not sleep the way humans sleep. They take kind of frequent power nap. Short duration, lasting for few minutes rest amounting to about 4 hrs/day. Queen sleeps about 9 hrs/day.
- Soldier ants protect the queen, defend the colony, fight the enemy colony, bring eggs from defeated colony to make them slaves when the eggs hatch, when they win over enemy colonies…..
- International conferences are conducted on ants ! – attended by eminent scientists and entomologists from around the world, I read.
- Ants do not have lungs. They breathe through some holes in their body.
- Some ants do not have eyes by design. I do not know what they do.
- Ants do not have ears, but not deaf. They sense the ground vibrations through a sensory organ situated below their knees.
- They are every where on earth except Antarctica and very few Islands. It is estimated that there are about 1 mio ants for every human on earth. That’s a lot of ants.
- Ants do farming, learnt well before humans learnt do so. They keep, protect Aphids like humans raise goats, for their food.
- Ants can float in water, can survive underwater for considerable time.
- Ants are as old as dinosaurs.
These sleepy ants were about an inch in length and they were just sitting (rather standing) tight at one spot.
I was wondering if there was some food in the spot and they must be munching over. But I was wrong. The spot where they were standing tight, no food, nothing. They were just keeping quiet.
I have no clue as to why they were very quiet. I will be glad if some one can throw some light.
Ants are very interesting creature of nature. They are vital for eco balancing. Earth and other animals can for sure survive with out human beings. But human beings can not survive with out the creatures like ants.
By the way ants are pests too. If they enter your house, you better be careful.
When you search for ants on Google, you will end up seeing more of pest control service providers site rather than pure ants.
Searching on net is an art. Using the right keyword is key. Many a times, you keep on searching for a right information / blog but you end up seeing not so useful stuff. However there are few good people around here, who make things easier for the benefit of others – here is one such portal. If you are looking out for some brilliant blogs from Indian photographers ( well, not really on Ants) hit this link. You will not be disappointed.
But what made me write about them.
Ant is not just synonym for something small or insignificant, also known for their discipline, work culture, teamwork, fighting for their rights / space even if it means it’s death – and many more such good qualities, that we humans wish to imbibe. (many corporate managerial jargons can easily be drawn from Ant’s life) . They are very much akin to soldiers.
We no doubt, stomp, whack them if found near us. I thought why not take some close up pictures and put up on my writing board just to show some respect to tiny creatures of our mother nature. The “quote” written in the beginning impressed me.
Disclaimer : The information cited are gathered from the documents, blogs on internet domain, which are available publicly.