Those Noisy Ants
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
Scientists have long known that some ants communicate with one another using vibrations. They also know that these ants pick up vibrations through ears that are located in their knees. Ants in four subfamilies communicate using these vibrations. These ants tend to build nests with wood or dried pulp, which tend to carry the vibrations. Disturb a carpenter ant nest, and the vibrations will begin. An individual ant will send out as many as seven vibrations in 50 millisecond intervals. Other ants in the nest will hear these vibrations as they travel through the material that makes up the nest.
New research has raised interest among researchers about whether some ants can hear airborne sound. To their surprise, ant researchers discovered that some ants communicate through audible squeaks. If you hold a red desert ant up to your ear, you may hear tiny squeaks. The squeaks are produced by the last segment of the ant’s body. The ant rasps two parts of the segment together in a principle similar to that used by crickets. Among the things communicated by squeaks are that dinner is ready or a good nest site has been found. Squeaks are also used to call for help after a cave in.
Communication is a wonderful gift of God, but the ability to communicate is not what makes us human. Rather, we are special in the creation because we were created in God’s image and have been redeemed by His Son, Jesus Christ.
Lord, I thank You that You have communicated Your love to me. Amen.
Science News, 2/5/00, pp. 92 94, “When Ants Squeak.” Photo: Two workers communicating through touch. Courtesy of Noah Elhardt. (CC-BY-SA 4.0)