News

Ants go wild

By Geoff Adams

If the size of ant mounds indicate their anticipation of rain, then Avenel is due for a flood.

My father used to say you could tell the size of the next fall of rain, by the way the ants behaved.  Somehow their little brains were activated by the humidity or air pressure and could anticipate how big the rain would be.

A farmer from Avenel has sent us these photos of ant mounds  (not quite the termite mound size) around his place.

University of Sydney senior lecturer, Tanya Latty, queries whether ants really do know.

"The short answer is “no”, although it is a difficult question to answer partly because of the sheer diversity of ants – there are 13000 named species on the planet!'' Ms Latty said in an article published on The Conversation.

She points out that ants are equipped with a full array of senses that could, in theory, give them clues about imminent rainfall.

Ant antennae are sensitive detectors capable of picking up minute chemical traces.

One species, the Florida carpenter ant ( Camponotus floridanus ), has more than 400 genes for detecting odours - the largest number of any known insect species.