Skip to comments.Elephants 'Scared of Ants'
Posted on 09/07/2010 10:59:39 AM PDT by nickcarraway
Mice are bad enough, according to the myth - but the creature that really fills an elephant with fear is a lot smaller.
Ants are getting the better of nature's biggest land beast on the African savannah, scientists have discovered.
The ants act as guardians of acacia trees, which risk being ravaged by hungry elephants.
Any elephant foolish enough to approach an ant-protected tree is liable to find swarms of the angry insects crawling up its trunk.
Experts believe the ant tree-guards play a vital ecosystem role that has previously been overlooked. Professor Todd Palmer, from the University of Florida, US, who took part in the research, said: ''It really is a David and Goliath story, where these little ants are up against these huge herbivores, protecting trees and having a major impact on the ecosystems in which they live. ''Swarming groups of ants that weigh about five milligrams each can and do protect trees from animals that are about a billion times more massive.''
The researchers stumbled onto the discovery after noticing that one species of acacia tree, Acacia drepanolobium, was seldom bothered by elephants. ''We thought that was really interesting because we often see elephants feeding on other species of trees that do not harbour ants,'' said Prof Palmer.
The scientists carried out tests in which some of the trees were stripped of their ants. They also ''added'' ants to one of the elephants' favourite tree foods, a different Acacia species called A. mellifera.
''When either tree species had ants on them, the elephants avoided those trees like a kid avoids broccoli,'' said Prof Palmer.
Writing in the journal Current Biology, the researchers said the elephant's Achilles' heel was its trunk.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Kind of like the RINOS who pretend to be elephants in the GOP.
The meaning of this sentence could be clearer
“The meaning of this sentence could be clearer”
No joke. I’m not even an native English speaker, and I was thinking “which trunk?”
Well considering how long, elephant, ants & trees have been around in the same place, logically elephants should have evolved in to anteaters by now...
No. Those particular ants could kill something the size of an anteater.
I'm scared of ants too. I have permanent scars from ant bites I received in the jungles of Mindanao. For little guys, they can get really nasty.
Mythbusters CONFIRMED that one.
I don’t believe in Mythbusters now. I never watched the show, but my friend said they concluded it was a myth that someone could be electrocuted if a toaster was thrown into a bathtub. Yet, none of them tested it on themselves, even though they concluded it wasn’t dangerous. To me, that makes everything they say worthless.