“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Scientists have discovered that seemingly purposeless behaviors among leaf cutting ants actually serve an important function. Leaf cutting ants cut green leaves into pieces that they can carry back to the nest. As they cut a leaf, they vibrate, creating an effect like an electric knife. Since they can cut the leaves without vibrating, it would seem to have no purpose. Smaller worker ants accompany the larger worker ants to their leaf cutting site. Then they wait around, watching the larger workers. To make matters stranger, once a leaf section is ready to be carried back to the nest, the little do nothing workers climb aboard the leaf to be carried back home with it.
New research has revealed that these apparently pointless behaviors serve a single, important purpose. As the larger worker finishes cutting a leaf section, she vibrates even faster. The increased rate of vibration is apparently a signal to the smaller worker to board the leaf section for the ride home. But why are the smaller workers there in the first place? Researchers have discovered that they discourage attacks by phorid flies. These flies would otherwise inject an egg into a leaf cutting ant. When the egg hatches, the larva chews its way through the ant, killing it.
This amazingly designed system reminds us that there is purpose throughout the creation. God is the Author of purpose, not mindless chance. God’s highest purpose for us is to come to faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Lord, I thank You because You have brought purpose into my life. Amen.
Science News, 2/5/00, pp. 92 94, “When ants squeak.” Photo: Leaf-cutting ants. (PD)