Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community


At Mind Matters News: How do insects use their very small brains to think clearly?

Another strategy, one that enables social insects to engage in complex behaviors, is an established but little understood concept: The colony can have a memory that individual insects don’t have. Stanford biology prof Deborah M. Gordon, author of Ant Encounters: Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior (2010), recounts an experiment she did, to create an obstacle for ants and see if they remembered it. Read More ›

Ants from hell

Smithsonian Magazine: Paleontologists have long suspected that unique mouthparts of the 16 known species of hell ant hinged shut vertically, rather than horizontally as is the case in all living ant species. But the newly described specimen is the first hard evidence that this is indeed how these early ants sharp jaws functioned Read More ›

Beetles freeloaded off ants 100 million years ago

So what, you say? Well, consider: We have no evidence that the relationship “evolved.” We are informed that we ought to see it as evolution but—as so often—we find the same patterns prevailing in the past, without any evolution. Read More ›

Spiders mimic two different ant types while growing (but secretly signal spidery mates)

Yeah, the story does sound like as plotline from Saturday night with popcorn at the old Downtown Grand but… From ScienceDaily: Viewed from above, the mimics look like skinny, three-segmented ants to fool predators. But in profile, the adult mimics retain their more voluptuous and alluring spider figure to woo nearby mates. UC researchers presented their findings in January at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology conference in Tampa, Fla. Most birds avoid ants and their painful stingers, sharp mandibles and habit of showing up with lots of friends. Try to eat one and you’re likely to get chewed on by 10 more. That’s why nearly every insect family from beetles to mantises has species that mimic ants. By Read More ›

Plants have developed complex strategies to get ants to help them

From ScienceDaily: A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences breaks down the genetic history of 1,700 species of ants and 10,000 plant genera, and the researchers found that the long history of ant and plant co-evolution started with ants foraging on plants and plants later responding by evolving ant-friendly traits. … “There are a number of different structures plants make that are specific for ant use,” explains Nelsen, who led the study with his fellow Field Museum researchers and co-authors Rick Ree and Corrie Moreau. “Some plants have evolved features that persuade ants into defending them from attack from other insects and even mammals. These include hollow thorns that ants will live inside, or extra Read More ›