Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Home Tech "The Ant War", a bellicose spirit in insects

"The Ant War", a bellicose spirit in insects

• "The Ant War", by Franck Courchamp and Mathieu Ughetti, ed. Ecuador Science, 104 p., 15 €

There are 20,000 species of ants, some of which have been on the ground for 120 million years. And among them, so far, 19 species "Invasive" according to Franck Courchamp, ecologist (CNRS-univeristé Paris Saclay). That is to say, super-ants, more powerful than the others, able to invade a new environment by causing terrible ecological damage. That puts in the mood.

Kamikaze, electric, destroyer …

For if these tiny animals – they weigh 3 mg – six legs and antennae, well known for their evolved social life, are first presented as prodigious beings – they can carry 50 times their weight and run (at equal size) more fast as a galloping horse, raising aphids to recover the juice, or cultivating mushrooms to feed on them – we quickly discover that a good part of them are essentially animated by a spirit of conquest of territory, competitiveness, in short, a rather exacerbated warrior feeling. Hence the title of the book, prefaced by Bernard Werber, writer specializing in ants.

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Moreover, their names reflect this state of affairs. The kamikaze ant capable of exploding by spreading an acidic product to save the anthill, the electric ant making the death to deceive the enemy and finally kill it, the yellow crazy ant, the tropical fire ant, the ant destroyer, the ant of fire capable of killing a man by anaphylactic shock … In short, we may be very small, but we are still very resourceful, supportive, even invasive.

Its great adaptability should allow it, under the effect of global warming, to further expand its presence. Already, two species, including the Argentine ant, have invaded the south of France … In the end, an interesting comic and nicely sketched.

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