Wednesday, 25 April 2012

W for Weaver Ants

Fun Facts:

1) Weaver Ants belong to the order Hymeoptera. But what's really amazing is their unique nest building ability. These ants live in trees and worker ants construct the nest by weaving together leaves using silk from the larvae. It's would be like using baby vomit as morter to build your house. Wow, things just got a little less awesome. Ok, so forget my analogy.

2) From the outside, the nest resembles a  bunch of live leaves woven together with fine strands of silk forming a ball about the size of a baskedball or smaller.

3)  Building one of these nests starts off with a single worker ant trying to reach the edge of a nearby leaf with its mandibles. If it cannot reach the leaf, a second ant will climb over the first creating a living chain in order to bridge the gap. If the span is still to large, a third ant will come to aid until the leaf has been reached. By this time, parallel chains and cross links of ants may also have been formed next to the initial chain in order to draw the leaves together.

4) Once the two leaves have been pulled together, new workers arrive carrying larvae. By gently squeezing the larvae, silk is excreted from their salivary glands. The silk is used like a type of "glue" which holds the leaves in place.

5) These ants are fascinating in their ability to work together towards a common goal. They use an array of chemical pheromones and tactile signals to convey information. Scientists study weaver ants for many reasons, such as the ability to execute a large task with limited resources and commands.

I could go on for another 10 50 pages on these ladies, but I'll keep this short! However if you have a moment, check out the video of weaver ants in action. You'll get to see some nest construction and also their fighting technique as they attack the program host.

Team ANTS!


  1. Those are amazing. More than amazing. I've just been watching the videos and am still reeling a bit.

  2. Ants are amazing! I love how they work together for a common goal. Excellent post! :)

  3. Mina is right: ants are amazing. In my WIP, BEST OF ENEMIES, I have a Lakota shaman teaching a high school class of Sidhe, revenants (vampires), and Valkyries -- he uses the ant as an illustration that they may be making a mistake in dismissing humans as small and insignifcant. He says anyone who has shared a bed with a mosquito knows not to underestimate the power of small things.

  4. Amanda: We're just scratching the surface here...(:

    Mina: Thanks for dropping by. I think we can learn a lot about ourselves if we just stopped to smell the roses and watch the ant trail............................ (;

    Roland: Hurry up and finish you WIP!!! It sounds great already!! (:

  5. Ants have always fascinated me. Your pictures make me appreciate them even more. I love your blog. It's beautiful.

  6. Ants really creep my friend Melissa out. I should show her this post. /giggle

  7. Yikes, that's a lot of info on ants you have. Raid is my friend here in Manila. You can't leave a grain of sugar or food anywhere without those crafty rascals swarming on it.

  8. cleemckenzie: Thank you and thanks for stopping in. (:

    Michael: I see we share the same kind of humor... (;

    Jeremy: Manila! I bet you get all kinds of great insects over there....*sigh* (: Thanks for stopping in, love your site btw!

  9. What a video! Such amazing construction tecniques!
    I love the creativity in the analogy of the weaver ants "using their bodies as living dressmaker pins stitching the leaves together" - a beautiful image!
    The "old lady soldiers" are something else - I bet they could show the males a thing or two!


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