Can Humans Compete with 'Super' Ants and Humongous Fungus?

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 18, 2002 | Go to article overview

Can Humans Compete with 'Super' Ants and Humongous Fungus?


Byline: Burt Constable

We interrupt the depressing news of how the U.S. superpower can't stop the daily slaughter of and by human beings in the Middle East to bring you the uplifting story of ants that have united Europe to form one peace-loving, resource-pooling, picnic-embracing entomological super colony.

Stretching from the Italian Riviera to northwest Spain (roughly the same as from Chicago to Phoenix and back again), the super colony is the largest ant co-op ever recorded. Instead of warring queendoms, the billions of ants maintain separate nests but all get along fabulously.

While I am so very happy for the ants in a sycophantic sort of way, I fear this may be how dinosaurs greeted the news that mammals seemed to be doing well. I see this ant super colony as a portent of the end of the human reign, and the beginning of a terrifying Planet of the Ants, where human slaves toil to prepare perpetual picnic feasts for their six-legged conquerors.

Ants already are perhaps the most dominant life form on earth. They outnumber us, outweigh us (their total poundage exceeded ours even before Jared went on his Subway diet), and have been known to kill tigers (I'll get to that later). So it seems logical that if ants can unite their forces, they might decide to make a run at world domination. That seems especially likely given that this European super colony contains ants that migrated from Argentina, which is where all the Nazi ants fled after losing World War II.

Shouldn't we be afraid, very, very afraid?

"In terms of ants taking over? No," says Richard L. Brown, professor of entomology at Mississippi State University. "Don't view the ants as planning a strategy or saying, 'Let's all get along.' The ants aren't making a decision. The decision has been made for them."

Like many human immigrants, these ants, whose ancestors are believed to have arrived in Europe around 1920 in shipments of plants from South America, fare better if they stick together. Ants often form massive co-ops the size of several city blocks, but this is the largest super colony known, Brown explains, adding that there are no doubt even bigger ant super colonies as yet undiscovered.

And, getting back to that tiger-eating ant story, the ravenous "driver" ants of Africa did kill and devour a tiger that was caged in a zoo, the "fire ants" creeping northward in the United States have killed people, and so have the "army ants" of South America. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Can Humans Compete with 'Super' Ants and Humongous Fungus?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.