Going Green

Ants and their untold stories

Carpenter ants (Camponotus sp)

“Courage isn’t always a lion’s roar…
It’s also the silence of an ant working patiently,
Persistently and never giving up.”

We do not notice them, but they are there and they shape our world. Some ants contribute to the growth of the forest understorey through innovative seed dispersal techniques, thus determining plant distribution. Other ants help turn the soil (just as earthworms do), allowing water and oxygen to reach plant roots and keep the forest floor healthy.

Camponotus sp
Diacamma sp
Meranoplus sp
Pachycondyla sp

Ants don’t have ears and some of them are even blind, but they have a great sense of smell. They smell with the antennae on their heads! Each colony has a different scent and ants can differentiate between their friends and foes. If their antennae do not work properly, they may live with their enemies in the same nest without even realizing it!

Tetraponera rufonigra sp
Weaver ant
Weaver ant

Social scientists studying ant communication have found remarkable similarities between ant colonies’ networks and human-engineered ones. Their ways of working together is remarkable and we still have so much to learn from them.

Spiny Ant (Polyrhachis sp)

First published in the September 2017 issue of Sanctuary Asia

Photos: Indranil Banerjee