Leaf-Cutter Ants and Magnetic Force Fields

These are leaf-cutter ants. They are all over Panama.

I am pretty intrigued by these little guys. Everybody knows that ants can carry 10-20 times their body weight. The mention of such facts only causes shoulders to shrug.

But to see these ants awkwardly carry large pieces of foliage is quite the sight. As you walk down the street and glance down you may see pieces of grass moving right along with you (especially if you walk really slow). They eventually take the grass back to their mounds.

Rumor has it that these ants harvest the leaves in which they grow fungus in their nests so they can eat. In return they protect the fungus from molds and other pests. Scientists call this a "mutualistic" or "symbiotic relationship" (I know big words!). They also have some kind of magnetic compass which allows them find their way around . Rumor also has it that tax payers funded some graduate student to prove this. Neat!

1 comment:

Cheasty said...

i think i read somewhere that if you weighed all the human body mass on the planet and compared it to the body mass of all the ants on the planet, the ants would outweigh humans by 30x.

or was it 3x?

either way, that's a lot of ants.