The Early Ant Gets the Canned Sardine with Oil

If you’re anything like us, you’ve been spending a lot of time lately wondering about ant species coexistence. How can there possibly be 13,384 species of ants, when so many species have overlapping niches in space, food resources, and other traits? Shouldn’t the most competitive ant species ultimately drive all the others to extinction?

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One of 13,384 known species of ants. How? Image: Alex Wild

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Ant Babies and Their Superpowers

Dedicated readers of The Daily Ant may remember that earlier this year, we featured myrmecologist Dr. Adrian Smith and his work on ant babies. Such readers may also remember our coverage of the Field Museum AntLab’s Dr. Shauna Price in a Theatre Thursdays installment. Well, recently, the same Dr. Price shared with us a marvelous BBC feature on ant babies from last spring. Although we do not endorse some of the vertebrate framing (“No one would call a baby ant cute.” Srsly?), we definitely recommend that everyone read the article and come to appreciate just how cool ant babies really are!

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The Daily Ant One-Year Antiversary: In Review

It’s hard to believe it, but it’s true. What started out one year ago from yesterday as a podunk formicid-friendly online media project with an inaugural post on loving your house ants has grown into a podunk formicid-friendly online media project with 196 published articles. Whether you’re joining us now for the first time, or have traversed the long foraging trail of myrmecological justice since the very beginning, it’s time to consider what we’ve accomplished together.

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Anika Hazra Interviews Myrmecologists on Collective Intelligence

In a recent episode of the (wonderfully named) Science for the People podcast, University of Illinois – Chicago PhD student Anika Hazra interviewed myrmecologists Stephen Pratt and Simon Garnier. You may remember Hazra, also a myrmecologist, from her great antforgraphic on ant colony optimization! Now check out her engaging and informative interview of Pratt and Garnier, on ant intelligence, here.

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BREAKING: Daily Ant Launches GoFundMe Campaign: “AntSongs”

The Daily Ant is thrilled to report that we have launched a historic GoFundMe campaign: “AntSongs: A Daily Ant Experience“.

Bring such remarkable tunes as Tom Waits’ “Army Ants”, Frank Sinatra’s “High Hopes”, and Calle 13’s “El Hormiguero” to life! The Daily Ant will partner with Jordan Blanchard, a singer-songwriter from Michigan, to produce interpretive covers of these underappreciated classics.

If you would like to support this formicid-forward campaign, donate today!

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T.V. Tuesday: The Kardashiants

We start this post with an unusual sentence: A recent headline in New York Daily News caught our attention. What was the headline?

“Fire ants could be used to help Kim Kardashian”

It turns out that a component of the chemicals released in a fire ant sting also may alleviate some symptoms of an auto-immune disease called psoriasis. And Kim Kardashian has psoriasis. Thus, fire ants could be used to help Kim Kardashian.

But our story does not end with this New York Daily News article. Investigative reporting by The Daily Ant has revealed that the Kardashian family is remarkably antlightened. There are at least two other occasions of Kardashians dabbling in the world of Formicidae. Consider this scientific inquiry by both Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian:

Or, dwell on this myrmecological musing by Kanye West, husband of Kim Kardashian, during a lecture at Oxford University (video here):

People say it takes a village to raise a child. People ask me how my daughter is doing. She’s only doing good if your daughter’s doing good. We’re all one family. We have the ability to approach our race like ants, or we have the ability to approach our race like crabs.

Thus, The Daily Ant is surprised to report that Keeping Up with the Kardashians by association, is one of the most ant-friendly shows currently on television.

UPDATE (09/13/2017): Public Relations Consultant Natalia Piland suggests that The Daily Ant ought to answer Kourtney’s and Khloé’s noble inquiry. The answer is: Yes, basically. In ants, as in other insects, it’s called an aedeagus.

Editorial: Message on Houston’s Fire Ants

Here at The Daily Ant, we know that so much of the mainstream media enjoys focusing on (allegedly) negative ant characteristics. Our online newspaper actively works to counteract this insidious bias. However, there are a few truly bad actors within the formicid family that deserve genuine condemnation. Fire ants are one of these few bad actors.

Amid the historic and devastating flooding disaster underway in Houston, Texas, many fear for their lives. It is thus understandable that the average citizen is subsequently terrified when, while on a boat in their neighborhood-turned-lake, they encounter this:

Although these are ants, and although a floating raft of ants is objectively amazing in addition to being genuinely terrifying, we strongly condemn any fire ant that attacks a human during these trying times. We also recommend that whether you are a human or a non-invasive ant, you avoid these floating rafts to the best of your ability! And, in solidarity with our vertebrate sisters and brothers, we urge you to donate to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.

 

Note: We thank several of our readers – Rose, Nathan, Ted, and Jason – for reaching out to us about these ant rafts!

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