From SVBC member Ellen Beckett
I am fascinated by leafcutter ants, although friends tell me this is only possible because I am a renter, not a landowner. I could watch them for hours, tirelessly carrying large pieces of leaves on their heads, scurrying in an almost straight line back to the nest and then returning to pick up another chunk. Looks like the equivalent of me carrying four-by-eight pieces of plywood on my head. (They can actually carry pieces of leaves almost 50 times their own weight, and they have a groove in the top of their head that helps balance them.)
And what motivates them? Sociobiologists of course tell us that they are ensuring that their genes will be passed on, as all species do. Still, do they ever wake up and say, “Nah, not today”? Do they think of organizing a strike? What consequences do lazy ants face?
Next time, before you go for the poison, take a minute to appreciate one of nature’s marvels: the leafcutter ant.
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