Friday, 1 February 2008

Ants in your pants

We had great troubles with ants on Baw Baw. Everytime we stopped to investigate something interesting we ended up performing the Ant Dance, a type of stomping and arm flapping rythym designed to rid the lower legs of a few dozen ants that had quickly moved onto boots and trousers.

E O Wilson knows a lot about ants. He's probably the world's expert. I've read a few things he has written but really their astonishing social life is still an enigma to me. An ant is an ant. I'm not going to get too close to study them. But this, on Mt Baw Baw, was a sight - a whole bush covered in winged ants that were moving frantically. Since coming home I've read (Australian Insects: a natural history by Bert Brunet) that 'during summer winged male and female ants, called alates, leave the nest and swarm in nuptial flights, after which they shed their wings and establish new colonies'.

Wilson once said that if he had his life over again he would study microbes (or some such thing), the minute life of the soil. At least they don't bite.

1 comment:

zhakee said...

I've learned that same ant dance, but since I don't like dancing much in public, I try to remember to stuff my pants inside my sox to keep the little biters off of me when I know there are lots of ants or other creepy crawlies that like jeans. Nice blog site, btw.