The remarkable ant

Recently, I was reading an issue of New Scientist that had some electron micrograph images of ants and other insects. A micrograph is a fancy way of saying ‘digital image taken through a microscope or similar magnifying device’. Anyway, some of the images you can find on the internet are amazing. Below is an electron micrograph of a leafcutter ant that’s holding a gear that’s just 0.1 mm wide.

Leaf Cutter Ant

This remarkable image was created by Manfred Page, and can be seen in a brand new exhibition by the Royal Photographic Society.

So, the humble ant is amazing for a number of reasons, they have division of labour, they communicate with one another using not just sound, but pheromones and touch. For more information on this, just type ‘ants’ into Wikipedia.

The New Scientist article I was reading was all about how ants can link themselves together to form a ‘raft’ in order to survive in the event that their nest gets flooded. Check out this video:

It turns out that ants have slightly hydrophobic (water repellant) bodies and if you watch the video, you can see that the ants can trap an air pocket around their bodies, enabling them to breathe when under water.

Also in the video, you can see the really intelligent ants climbing up the tongs that are being used to submerge them.

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