It may be Friday the 13th, but this article is talking about some lucky ants. Canopy ants, in particular. Ants that forage in trees exhibit a high level of ecological dominance, and ants are usually the most conspicuous organisms running around on tree trunks and branches, especially in tropical forests. This begs the question: Why? Dr. Terry McGlynn and Erica Parra, in a paper published last year, set out to address this question.

polyrhachis
Nest of Polyrhachis ants, a dominant arboreal genus. Photo: Alex Wild

Theaters across the U.S. have made good money from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Audiences have flocked to see this film about a fictional ragtag team setting out to save the Rebellion. Yet few know about a moving story shared by a rebel not from a galaxy far, far away, but from Xinjiang, China. Rebiya Kadeer, a Uyghur civil rights activist, shared a story about a bird and a little ant at the beginning of her 2009 book, Dragon Fighter: One Woman’s Epic Struggle for Peace with ChinaThis story has been reproduced below. Enjoy!