We’re Living On The Planet Of The Ants

Humans will go down in the history books as the only species to colonize every continent on the planet. However, there are much smaller animals that are accomplishing this feat, and they’re ants. Oh yes! Along with ruining our picnics, these insects are also taking over the Earth, one anthill at a time. For most of the 12,000 species of ants described on Earth, they are extremely territorial. However, there are about 20 species that exhibit a behaviour to create super-colonies. These super-colonies grow from a single ant colony that branches out to nearby areas, and can expand uncontrollably if not impeded.  Continue reading

The Weekly Round Up: December 25-31

Happy New Years Eve!  It’s the end of 2016, and oddly enough we’re ending on a Round Up.  What I could do in this situation, if forethought was a strong suit of mine, is do a 2016 Round Up for you all.  Unfortunately, that is not a skill I have (plus, the internet is already chock full of 2016 lists, and I don’t want to talk about Harambe ever again).  So instead, here’s what happened this week.  We’ve got China banning the ivory trade, a happy elephant, and catty bats.  So let’s dive in! Continue reading

The Weekly Round Up: July 17-23

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It’s Saturday, so you know what time of the week it is again!  It’s time to sit back, relax, grab a cup of Joe, or tea, or what have you- I don’t know what you people are all drinking these days- and catch up on the environmental stories of the week.  We’ve got bonobo research, Bill Nye vs Creationism, and farming ants, to mention a few.  So let’s dive in! Continue reading

I’m Starting With The Ant In The Mirror!

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Myrmica rubra

How many times have you looked in the mirror today? Or not even in a mirror, but in a tinted window, at the reflection in your computer screen, or checked yourself out using your phone-camera? We’re all guilty of being far too vain, but this behaviour is a very special thing. Our ability to recognize ourselves in the mirror is a unique quality that many animal species do not have. Of those species that can recognize themselves (that we know of), the majority of them are mammals. The most extensive research on self-recognition has been conducted on apes, dolphins, dogs and magpies. Well we can now add a new species to the list of self-recognizing animals…ANTS!  Continue reading

Let’s Talk About: Ants

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So there’s an ant colony that I now apparently share my bathroom with- which is just peachy- and before I decimate the entire ant hill using trickery and poison, I thought that I might as well take a page out of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and “know thy enemy”.  Now I don’t know what type of species of ant is living within the hidden recesses of my bathroom (which is actually a pretty major problem when it comes to the general taxonomy of ants, considering there are probably more than 10,000 species of them) so I’ll just generally know my enemy.  If A Bug’s Life is any indication though, the worst they can do is build a fake bird- and I’m not afraid of birds.  So, without further ado, let’s talk about ants. Continue reading

The Weekly Round Up: May 4-8

TGIF!! It’s that time of the week again where we round up some of the biggest environmental articles! So, let’s get to it!

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Researchers at Festo, a German Robotics company, are looking to animals and nature to inspire the next generation of robots. More specifically, these researchers are inspired by ant colonies, butterfly swarms, and chameleon tongues. The ants provide a template for a group of smaller entities networking and communicating with each other while following orders from a higher level, the butterflies inspired a prototype of robots that can move in the air and communicate with one another to avoid collisions, and the chameleon’s sticky tongue, used to capture insects, has been reworked into a prototype robot that can grab small objects! Festo’s goal is to one day allow these robots into a factory setting.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/06/tech/mci-bionic-insects/

Continue reading