Sunday, May 27, 2012

David and Goliath in the Insect World

Hanging nest of green tree ant (Oecephalla smaragdina), and closeup of nest.  The leaves are sewed together at the edges by glue secreted by the larvae.  A worker ant holds a larva (a younger sister) and gently squeezes it like a tube of paste, while the other ants pull the leaves together and keep them in place until the glue dries up into a transparent film. The spent larva is then returned to the nursery, and replaced by fresh larvae.  The process is painstakingly and meticulously done  until the nest is formed - resistant to rain and wind, and will remain green until the end of the season, when the tree loses its leaves, a deciduous characteristic of many trees.  Rebuilding nest starts with the emergence of new foliage, and consequently a new crown.

An army of green tree ants devours a whole bee in less than an hour, chopping it  into tidbits with razor sharp mandibles, to be fed to the larvae up in the tree nest.
Honeybee (Apis mellifera) pollinating kamias (Averrhoa carambola) flower. While it has a sting of its own, it cannot use it to its minuscule enemy. On the other hand, a single shot of formic acid immobilizes the giant enemy and soon a swarm follows to the kill and does the abattoir job. 

It's a cruel world, but Nature sees it differently:
humanity is only for the human species;
everything applies to a web of life holistically,
where the rule is contiguity and homeostasis.  

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