Field of Science

Wonderful world of ants

Insects are very interesting, especially those that interact with plants, but no question about it, ants are amazing in their biological diversity, their ability to act almost as a super organism. As those of us who've spent considerable time in the tropics can attest that 1. ants are everywhere and 2. you'd better known which ones to watch out for. At the field station in Costa Rica where we teach rainforest ecology there are over 500 species of ants. Among the coolest are leaf-cutter ants, bullet ants (be very careful), army ants (Rule: don't walk through them in tevas), aztecas, and tiny fire ants. Here's a link to a nice little slide show about ants that promotes what is apparently a popular book called Adventures among the ants. Sorry, haven't seen the book, so can't say how good it is. This little fellow is a bullet ant (Paraponera), about 2.5 cm long, and it's sting packs a real wallop that was once described as the single most painful NON-lethal thing you could experience, but how would you know?

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