Kingdom Of The Ants


If you’ve ever run barefooted across a hot beach, you can imagine what it’s like for desert ants to dash across the sand in 140°F heat searching for food.

Saharan silver ants can survive ground temperatures higher than any other animal. They will travel up to a third of a mile in search of dead animals to take back to the nest.

Sometimes they run on four of their six legs, holding the other two up to cool. Silver ants also take cooling breaks by dashing to the top of a grass blade, away from the hot sand. After a few moments of cooling off, they run back down and are back in action.


You may have seen pictures or nature programs showing long trails of leaf-cutter ants hiking across the forest floor. Each ant carries a big hunk of leaf, holding it over its back.

When these ants reach their nest, they don't eat the leaves. Instead they chew the leaves up, spit them out, and store them in underground chambers.

Soon the leaf compost is covered with growing fungus. The ants live on the fungus.

One leaf-cutter ant nest may have 2,000 rooms with up to 300 of those "gardens" and 3 million to 7 million workers.

Leaf-cutter ants, fire ants, and every other species of ants thrive because they work together. They live in communities and cooperate to get things done. That's a lesson we humans would do well to learn.

Jane Chase