ant holeI always had a special kinship with ants, having made and observed colonies as a kid. I performed many behavior experiments with ants and learned a lot. In college, we used to boil ants to extract the formic acid they use as defense. Ants have ideal defense mechanisms since formic acid is better than any tear gas or mace for incapacitating an attacker. I used the formic acid in many nefarious experiments and research. Another thing to note is that the collective works best with the ants as they are single minded, and it is my hypothesis that the collective only works for those who live life through ritualistic behavior.

Jeff Watson, surfer, speculator, poker player and art connoisseur, blogs as MOTU.

Douglas Dimick adds:

Here in China, there is the "anthill" dynamic developing among university graduates who can only find low-paying work (2000 RMB per month). Graduates are renting rooms in apartments and living among collectives of similar fated new-to-the-market job seekers. See this China Daily article.

Riz Din writes:

Ants have an interesting relationship with aphids, treating them as a living food source to be farmed. Also, there are more of them than we think. Apparently they make up 15-25% of living terrestrial animal biomass.


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