Tag archives for Ants
The common wasp is an invasive species in New Zealand. These wasps compete for food with an ant species called Prolasius advenus, which is a native species. Scientists performing an experiment with the insects noticed the wasps doing something unique: picking up ants crawling on food, flying a short distance away, and then dropping the ants. The scientists noticed that while the two species competed for a food source, the ants could be aggressive towards the much larger wasps, trying to bite them or spraying them with formic acid. The researchers think that the wasps might drop the ants, rather than killing them, to touch as little of the formic acid as possible.
Photograph by Julien Grangier, Victoria University of Wellington
This picture may look like an ant with antlers, but it’s actually an ant that’s infected with a fungus! This fungus, called Ophiocordyceps camponoti-balzani, is one of four fungi species that infects ants, takes over their brains, and then kills the host ant when it reaches an ideal location for the fungus to grow. The different species of fungi infect ants in different ways. “It is tempting to speculate that each species of fungus has its own ant species that it is best adapted to attack,” said study leader David Hughes, who is an entomologist (or insect scientist) at Penn State University.
Photograph courtesy David Hughes
Photograph by Robert L. Curry
Did you know that there are more than 40,000 species of spiders, but only one species is known to be vegetarian? The jumping spider is named Bagheera kiplingi after the character of Bagheera the panther in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.
Bagheera kiplingi lives in Mexico and Costa Rica and eats the buds that grow on acacia plants. Ferocious acacia ants live in the acacia’s hollow thorns and defend the plants from intruders such as Bagheera kiplingi. The spider must leap from thorn to thorn to collect its food while avoiding the ants, according to Christopher Meehan the biologist who led the study. “It is utterly surreal to see a spider use such effective hunting strategies to hunt a plant,” he added.
Read more about this plant-loving spider on National Geographic News.
Put together puzzles featuring spiders on National Geographic Kids.
Watch a video of a jumping spider on National Geographic Kids.
Staying in the jungle for three days was like going to the best summer camp in the world. One side of our room was open to the trees, and it had a hammock in it! My favorite thing at the lodge in Puerto Maldonado, however, was the canopy tower. Standing 120 feet tall, it towered above the trees.