Thursday, April 13, 2023

Hilton Head Island: lessons from fire ants

A friend’s dog was bitten by a fire ant and had to be taken to the vet.  So I googled fire ants and learned that I hope personally never to make their acquaintance.  I also learned that ants are among the most successful of life forms, having been around for about 150 million years and consisting of 15,000 species.  

I was astonished to read the following in Wikipedia:

Fire ants are resilient and can survive floods. During Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017, clumps of fire ants, known as rafts, were seen clumped together on the surface of the water. Each clump had as many as 100,000 individual ants, which formed a temporary structure until finding a new permanent home. Ants so clumped, recognize different fluid flow conditions and adapt their behavior accordingly to preserve the raft's stability.

There is so much in that paragraph that is all but incredible, but Wikipedia provides references.  What prompts them to clump together?  How do they recognize different flow conditions?  How did they learn to adapt to them? 

Life clings to life with extraordinary tenacity.

We make life so complicated.  It isn’t.

Adaptability.  Perseverance.  Sex.


Solosailor said...

Adaptation regardless of species displays intelligence.

Webb said...

Virus adapt through chance mutations. To say they have intelligence seems to me to be exceeding the meaning of the word.

Solosailor said...

Our understanding of mind and what defines intelligence is expanding rapidly.

Hugh said...

Webb, I think you would enjoy lots of entomology, insects and their arthropod relatives are endlessly fascinating. Hugh

Webb said...

But fire ants surely only from a distance or under a microscope.