Abstract Discriminating among individuals and rejecting non-group members is essential for the evolution and stability of animal societies.
The World of our Little Friends, the Ants
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Figure 1. Ants recognize foes and not friends. Figure 2. Aggression level of resident ants either supplemented with a hydrocarbon or deficient of it towards alien ants either deficient or supplemented, respectively. Bars depict mean and s.cpanel.openpress.alaska.edu/map50.php
The meaning and origin of the expression: The ants are my friends, they're blowing in the wind
Figure 3. The hydrocarbons used for supplementation were a , b 3,dimeC 27 group d , c , d meC 26 group m and e , f n -C 20 group l. Bars show mean and s.
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By eating a nearby ant, Sniffles unknowingly lead his ancestor to do the same to his friend, liking the taste. The two species have been rivals ever since.
Most of the time, Sniffles brings the conflict onto himself and torments the ant family, sometimes to the point where they must resort to sadistic measures an example being A Hard Act to Swallow , where they are given no choice but to burst Sniffles open after failing to escape through his mouth. In a similar vein to Sniffles, the Ants are shown to care a lot about each other despite their deep hatred of him.
The one time an ant starts one of these conflicts is Suck It Up , where the baby ant steals Sniffles' cookies while he is sick in bed, forcing him to take them back.
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It is theorized that Sniffles is responsible for the missing father figure of the ant family, which could explain their malicious tendencies against him. We've all endured the experience of an uninvited parade of ants intruding on a picnic.
Mighty Ants Network
And it's true that certain species can become pests when they regularly forage through your home in search of food. But did you know that ants can be beneficial to both humans and the environment?
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If left to colonize the perimeter of your yard, ants can even act as a barrier to termites—their mortal enemies. Many farmers use predatory species as inexpensive, natural, and effective biological control. For almost 1, years in China, citrus growers have been nurturing Green Tree Ant colonies in their orchards to keep harmful insects off crops! Like earthworms, ants also help create healthy topsoil.
By digging nests and tunnels, ants aerate and turn over the dirt, bringing nutrients closer to the surface.