Nov 4, 2009

Mitey Ants

Brian's compost heap is the scene of much ant-based drama. Here we have an ant beset by a herd of mites. Whether the mites are just along for the ride (benign phoresy) or feeding off the ant, I don't know.

Photo source: Brian Valentine

But the ants know how to take care of themselves. Here we have a pair grooming and de-miting one another. I imagine the ants have to work fast; the mites probably hop right back on if you're not quick enough -- kind of like trying to peel a toddler off your lower legs when she's got it in her mind that you've got candy she wants. Peel and run.

Photo source: Brian Valentine


John Gunn said...

That is incredible that they "groom" each other. Like primates. I like the "mitey" pun too. Ha.

alcyonidae said...

It's actually pretty amazing how badly we seem to have underestimated invertebrate intelligence. Jumping spider brains, for instance, seem to be capable of everything a lion brain can do. Larger animals have larger brains, but not necessarily more complicated ones, because most of the connections are redundant. Here's a good article that just came out on the subject:


twilightfan said...

that looks soooo werid and cool at the same time i soo want to foleow you guys!

renato.fabro said...

Legal 8)