Mar 29, 2008

To Be Queen

As a flawed human being, I take a bit of pleasure in seeing the flaws in others, even in insects.

Ants, who are so often praised for their social cooperation, may not be as perfect as we think. Researchers have recently uncovered evidence that individual ants can be as corrupt and selfish as me (and the rest of humanity). It seems that some ants are able to cheat the ant system and ensure that their own offspring become reproductive queens as opposed to sterile works (queen and worker seen below).

I'm reminded of the pageant mother who parades her daughter about in adult clothing and makeup for her own aggrandizement, the football coach who always keeps his own son in the starting lineup, and the boss who promotes his son over more qualified individuals.

Thanks for the photo, Ida.

Photo source: DR Nash/PA via Guardian.co.uk

6 comments:

Rasmus said...

Eww, her back is hairy...

Shay said...

if to be queen meant looking like that, i think i'd prefer to be a serf, thank you very much.

Robin said...

How would an individual ant ensure her offspring becomes queen if she is sterile in the first place? The only ant that reproduces is the queen, and she is the mother of EVEEEEEERYYYYYYYOOOONNNNNEEEEE. Wow I'm confused.

Raging Wombat said...

Maybe its the male ant who donated half the DNA. He's able to keep track of which grub is his?

sensitivepoet said...

Yeah, I'm really curious about this research! If anyone has a link or more info, let me know.

And, yeah, I'm curious about how this "cheating the system" would work too.

Nonexistant Black Feather said...

I feel like I learned about this (perhaps in bees instead). And now I can't for the life of me remember how it works. Basically, workers can decide which eggs to raise, sometimes there are rogues... and I've lost it, I don't remember anymore. ^^;;