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Trap-building ants torture prey(sinister and clever)
BBC News ^ | 04/23/05

Posted on 04/24/2005 9:16:28 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4472521.stm

Trap-building ants torture prey
 



With cunning and patience, the ants cut hairs from the stem of the plant they inhabit, and use the tiny fibres to build a spongy platform. The elaborate trap snares its prey, which is then stretched like a victim on a mediaeval rack before being hacked to pieces.

The ants divide labour according to age, with the oldest individuals being trap builders
 
A fierce species of Amazonian ant has been seen building elaborate traps on which hapless prey are stretched like medieval torture victims, before being slowly hacked to pieces.

With cunning and patience, Allomerus decemarticulatus worker-ants cut hairs from the stem of the plant they inhabit, and use the tiny fibres to build a spongy snare, Nature magazine reports.

This ingenious feat of engineering has only ever been observed in one other species of related ant, French researchers say.

What the ants do is cut hairs to clear a path under the plant stem, while leaving some hairs standing to form "pillars" on top of which the lethal platform will sit.

Using the plant hairs they have harvested, the ants weave the platform itself, which is bound together and strengthened using a special fungus.

When the ants have completed the chamber they puncture holes all along its surface, each just big enough to poke their heads through.

Then, hundreds of worker ants climb into the chamber and wait for an unfortunate victim.

Ancient sacrifice

"Workers will hide inside the platform, with their mandibles just inside the hole and they will wait there for prey to come," co-author Jerome Orivel of the University of Toulouse, France said.

Anything with legs slim enough to fit through the carefully constructed holes will meet a miserable fate if they are foolish enough to enter the trap.

The ants trapping an insect
There is no limit to the ants' ambition - they will try to catch any mammoth of the insect world
"They will catch almost anything that goes on the trap," continued Dr Orivel. "And they will grab anything they can - legs, antenna, anything."

Once the prey is well secured by jaws fastening all its extremities, it is stretched over the platform like an ancient sacrifice to the gods.

Scores of worker ants then stream out from inside the trap and sting it vigorously to cause paralysis.

Once the creature is dead or fully immobilised, the ants will carry it to their nest, where they will dismember their prey before carrying it inside.

"Small insects will be immediately dismembered and transported to the nest," said Dr Orivel. "But bigger insects will stay on the trap for up to 12 hours."

There is no limit to the ants' ambition and they will attempt to catch any mammoth of the insect world - so long as it has slender legs.

"Their success depends on the type of insect," Dr Orivel told the BBC News website. "The insects' legs have to be smaller than the holes otherwise they cannot get hold of them.

"The ants must have something to catch - for example, caterpillars will have nothing to get hold of so they will not be preyed upon."




TOPICS: Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: ant; dismemberment; prey

1 posted on 04/24/2005 9:16:34 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster

The closet analogy in the animal world to liberals with their endless micro-management of our lives, torturing us with their mainstream media deceit, and devouring us with their taxes.


2 posted on 04/24/2005 9:24:44 AM PDT by FormerACLUmember (Honoring Saint Jude's assistance every day.)
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To: FormerACLUmember

LOL!


3 posted on 04/24/2005 9:29:05 AM PDT by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
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To: FormerACLUmember

So by extension, Gullivar was tortured by the Lliputians.

A journalist can graduate from J school with no science and ignorantly write away.


4 posted on 04/24/2005 9:29:21 AM PDT by bert (Peace is only halftime !)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Very interesting ants. But what will Debbie Rowe have to say about Jacko setting traps for his young victims and licking their heads? Another weird species of insect.


5 posted on 04/24/2005 9:32:01 AM PDT by dc-zoo
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To: TigerLikesRooster
They can't fool us. We know that torture is putting panties on someone's head then photographing it. The media told us so.
6 posted on 04/24/2005 9:34:36 AM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (Pray for us all.)
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To: Hillarys Gate Cult
Re #6

Come to think of it, insects wearing panties over their head, could easily make the front-page headline of New York Times. Paul Krugman will write a scathing column condemning such atrocities.:-) Oh, that would be a real fun!!

7 posted on 04/24/2005 9:39:41 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster

I've read this article twice and both times I'm reminded of an ex-girlfriend.

 

8 posted on 04/24/2005 9:53:04 AM PDT by Fintan (Someday we'll look back on this moment and plow into a parked car.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

More than coincidence? You decide...


9 posted on 04/24/2005 10:04:42 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Give it 2 days and you'll be able to buy a colony on eBay.


10 posted on 04/24/2005 10:12:10 AM PDT by sandydipper (Less government is best government!)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
"With cunning and patience, ... "

Certainly a product of evolution ... you know ... happenstance, accident, chance, ka-boom fart of the universe.

< / sarcasm >

11 posted on 04/24/2005 10:14:42 AM PDT by knarf (A place where anyone can learn anything ... especially that which promotes clear thinking.)
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To: FormerACLUmember
The closet analogy in the animal world to liberals with their endless micro-management of our lives, torturing us with their mainstream media deceit, and devouring us with their taxes.

And their love of theatrics,deceitful machinations, and masquerading as champions of the underdog, the poor, the elderly, the disabled and the little animals in the forest.

12 posted on 04/24/2005 10:21:48 AM PDT by joesnuffy (The generation that survived the depression and won WW2 proved poverty does not cause crime)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
I dont care what country they are from, what color they are, what species of ant they are, I hate them all! Every single one of them! I'll step on them, I'll hit them with bricks, I'll run them over with my car, I'll set fire to them, their families, their homes and mounds! I'll poison them! I hate them all!

This is my personal Jihad, I am at war with these monsters and will be till the day I die!!

Unfortunately they will still be around.............

13 posted on 04/24/2005 10:23:38 AM PDT by Hot Tabasco (After 32 years of dealing with stupid people I still haven't earned the right to just shoot them.)
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To: Hot Tabasco
Re #13

When I was a little kid, I was like you. I declared the open season on an ant colony.

14 posted on 04/24/2005 10:27:39 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster
While in the Army, I was stationed on an island off the entrance to the Panama Canal accessed thru Ft. Amador. While on one of my explorations of the island, I came across a trail of leafcutter ants that was about 3 feet wide and appeared to extend forever up thru the jungle underbrush. Talk about being totally creeped out, I was traumatized forever.......

It was that religious awakening that launched me on my Jihad..........

15 posted on 04/24/2005 10:33:38 AM PDT by Hot Tabasco (After 32 years of dealing with stupid people I still haven't earned the right to just shoot them.)
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To: Hot Tabasco
Re #15

My Jihad was not trauma-induced, though. I have to say that you have ample reason to hate ants.

16 posted on 04/24/2005 10:36:10 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: Hot Tabasco

This reminds me of the time I moved into an apartment that had been ant infested for years - nothing worked to kill them. I baked a tray of corn bread and set a piece in the middle of the floor and left for the morning. When I came back that afternoon, there was a black path one inch wide extending from under the kitchen sink to the middle of the hardwood floor of the living room where the cornbread was. I took a large sponge and wiped the million or so ants up and into the sink. I did the same thing the next day, and the next. By the fourth day, when I came in, there was about six ants left. We never had another problem after that.


17 posted on 04/24/2005 10:47:15 AM PDT by Technocrat
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To: Hot Tabasco
This is my personal Jihad, I am at war with these monsters and will be till the day I die!!

Until recently, I lived in California. When I read that all of the ants in California essentially belong to one giant ant hive stretching for hundreds of miles north and south, I realized that the war against the ants is already lost. All we can do is hope to prevail for a short time in limited battles.

The worst part is, those ants in California aren't even American ants. They're from Argentina! They killed our native ants!

18 posted on 04/24/2005 11:34:50 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: exDemMom
"I realized that the war against the ants is already lost. All we can do is hope to prevail for a short time in limited battles."

...unless...the right man with a big enough magnifying glass...

19 posted on 04/24/2005 11:46:43 AM PDT by fat city (Julius Rosenberg's soviet code name was "Liberal")
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To: exDemMom
They're from Argentina!

Sheesh, even the ants are aliens........

20 posted on 04/24/2005 12:32:31 PM PDT by Hot Tabasco (After 32 years of dealing with stupid people I still haven't earned the right to just shoot them.)
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To: knarf
"With cunning and patience, ... "

Certainly a product of evolution ... you know ... happenstance, accident, chance, ka-boom fart of the universe.

The behavior is a product of evolution (it's a relatively minor variation on the behavior of other ant species), but the "cunning and patience" part is just a product of the reporter's rhetoric.

21 posted on 04/24/2005 12:37:48 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: Hot Tabasco
While in the Army, I was stationed on an island off the entrance to the Panama Canal accessed thru Ft. Amador. While on one of my explorations of the island, I came across a trail of leafcutter ants that was about 3 feet wide and appeared to extend forever up thru the jungle underbrush. Talk about being totally creeped out, I was traumatized forever.......

I recently read that in some rainforests, leafcutter ants make off with over 10% of the total annual foilage production. Pretty impressive.

22 posted on 04/24/2005 12:38:55 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: exDemMom
The worst part is, those ants in California aren't even American ants. They're from Argentina! They killed our native ants!

Same for the fire ants in Texas and other southern states. They invaded and wiped out the more benign native ants.

23 posted on 04/24/2005 12:40:11 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: TigerLikesRooster

THEM!!!!


24 posted on 04/24/2005 12:45:36 PM PDT by mewzilla
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To: knarf
Certainly a product of evolution ... you know ... happenstance, accident, chance, ka-boom fart of the universe

Exactly. Amazing what a random collection of cells with no intelligent design whatsoever can do, isn't it?
25 posted on 04/24/2005 12:49:08 PM PDT by reagan_fanatic (It takes all kinds of critters...to make Farmer Vincents fritters)
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To: Ichneumon
The behavior reply from Ichneumon is a product of evolution (it's a relatively minor variation on the behavior of other ant species), but the "cunning and patience" part is just a product of the reporter's rhetoric.

Could we ignore the pseudo intelligence of your posts for similar reasons?

If you think about this Ich, I'm trying to elevate you above the ant.

26 posted on 04/24/2005 1:15:53 PM PDT by knarf (A place where anyone can learn anything ... especially that which promotes clear thinking.)
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To: reagan_fanatic
Exactly. Amazing what a random collection of cells with no intelligent design whatsoever can do, isn't it?

It is, but it demonstrably happens anyway, so there you have it.

27 posted on 04/24/2005 1:23:18 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: knarf
Could we ignore the pseudo intelligence of your posts for similar reasons?

No, but you might want to try reading it again, because you obviously missed my point.

If you think about this Ich, I'm trying to elevate you above the ant.

So was I -- I was pointing out that the ant's behavior doesn't actually involve any "patience" or "cunning", contrary to what the reporter was claiming about it. The reporter was anthropomorphizing, imputing human qualities to the ants' behavior, when in fact the ants' behavior was mechanistic, pre-programmed into its nervous system by its genetics.

28 posted on 04/24/2005 1:23:26 PM PDT by Ichneumon
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To: exDemMom

>The worst part is, those ants in California aren't even American ants. They're from Argentina!

hey, cheer up! dont sound so glum. they just came here to work! be happy and proud youre an american, at least until you have to "Press 1 for Spanish, 2 for Ant, 3 for English" Lets hope that Bush offers them amnesty, thats the compaaaaSHIniTe thing to do.


29 posted on 04/24/2005 1:32:38 PM PDT by Zrob (freedom without lies)
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To: Hot Tabasco

Bought a huge bag of Amdro, didn't work really well, bought a bag of Over and Out, still waiting on the results.


30 posted on 04/24/2005 1:48:54 PM PDT by Tuscaloosa Goldfinch (Thank goodness "Terayza" is not first lady.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

31 posted on 04/24/2005 2:05:16 PM PDT by RightWingAtheist (Creationism is not conservative!)
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To: Ichneumon

32 posted on 04/24/2005 2:07:13 PM PDT by RightWingAtheist (Creationism is not conservative!)
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To: Ichneumon
It is, but it demonstrably happens anyway, so there you have it.

You've been able to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt there is no intelligent design whatsoever in the behavior of the lowly ant?

Impressive.
33 posted on 04/24/2005 4:15:50 PM PDT by reagan_fanatic (It takes all kinds of critters...to make Farmer Vincents fritters)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Ohmigod, how long will it be before all Amazonian insects will be sporting Hillary Legs?


34 posted on 04/24/2005 4:38:12 PM PDT by Old Professer (As darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of good; innocence is blind.)
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To: Technocrat

I've heard that if you can get them to eat baking powder they will swell up and bust.


35 posted on 04/24/2005 4:40:30 PM PDT by Old Professer (As darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of good; innocence is blind.)
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