Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ants, Ants, Ants! [There's no ME in TEAM]

I cycled out to the Laho lake a couple of days ago. On the way I saw a series of ant hills which were a lot bigger than the ant hills I remember growing up in Pennsylvania, which were volcano-shaped mounds of sand between 2 and 4 inches high. These Estonian ones start at about 2 feet high and seem to get up to 5.

Now that's what I call TEAMWORK.The Pyramids of Giza are diddly squat comparatively. I mean, even if Moses' people didn't have the wheel, dude, these little guys don't even have arms and they're building something that's, I dunno, a million times their size?

Apparently there is an ant "Kingdom" not far from here in which there are are nearly 1800 nests on 188 hectares of forest. Bordered by the Valgesoo Bog (oh! the name mixes memory with desire), it's reportedly the largest colony of Formica Aquilonia (red wood ant) in all of Europe.

Picked up a book on the bookshelf here about this area (sorry don't know the title in English, that seems to be the one part they didn't translate)... the Bog apparently has a bloody history:

The ant way of life, including their warfare, is astoundingly familiar to that of humans. One such war took place in 1998. A logging concession was issued for a spruce wood situated by the Valgesoo Bog. However, this forest was a home to numerous ant nests and after completion of the logging, these starving ants migrated to new areas where they met militant resistance by local ants who fiercely fought for their food supply. Johannes Martin, a myrmecologist, has witnessed a mass grave of ants: 15 meters in length and about 30 cm in width, covered with a thick layer of empty ant shells. According to estimations made by researchers, up to 50 million ants were killed in the war. 

1 comment:

  1. The ants in Overbrook Farms are persistant but pretty stupid. I know its springtime when they begin to come into the kitchen from someplace. But they are stupid. They only come to the sink area. The floor and the other side of the kitchen are far more lucrative but they ignore everything else. When they find a bit of honey they go nuts and invite all their friends. Where are these volcano shaped mounds?