Can We All Agree That Ants Are Just The Awesomest?

KQED’s excellent science series Deep Look (previously here, here, and here—can you tell we’re fans?) just kicked off a new run of videos with an episode about how ants use leaves to harvest fungus. Which, sure, fungus harvesting is fascinating in its own right, but wait until you find out what the ants are harvesting the fungus for.


I don’t want to spoil it. The video’s short, so just watch the whole thing, but keep an eye out around the 1:39 mark:

That shot of the little ants feeding the giant soldier ant is just outstanding.

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C.T. Rex Pope

Only slightly related to the ants in this video, but I recall a wonderful story when I was living in the jungles of Uganda as a primatologist. We had an entomologist in camp who was exclusively studying army ants. I lamented that I hated them, as they would attack and be terrible all the time—you could pull off their body and their head would still be bitting you. My friend another primatologist, piped up and said, “Oh they are not that bad, they are just defending themselves.” After which the entomologist corrected him, saying “oh no, they aren’t defending themselves, they believe they can eat you. And the worst part about being killed by army ants, you die from suffocation.” I hated them even more after that.