Please Explain: Ants

Friday, February 22, 2008

We look into the fascinating lives of ants. For example: some ant species can form floating rafts in order to survive floods. Another species, weaver ants, build nests in trees by sewing leaves together.

Brian L. Fisher is the Chairman of Entomology at the California Academy of Sciences and creator of He specializes in the large-scale discovery, description, and naming of African and Malagasy ants. Dr. John T. Longino of Evergreen State College specializes in neotropical myrmecology.


Brian L. Fisher

Comments [6]

gf from nyc

what have we learned about complexity theory (dynamic systems theory) from ants?

Feb. 22 2008 01:54 PM
Ruth Klein from NYC

I think your guest will appreciate this short TRUE story:
many years ago, I had occasion to ask Grandfather David Monongye, the 106 year old Hopi elder, who had been the teacher he'd learned most from.
He paused for quite some time, and then replied, "Ants."

Feb. 22 2008 01:48 PM
LBS from NYC

It sounds like ant hills are organized a lot like bee hives. Are there similarities, or is it just my imagination?

Feb. 22 2008 01:44 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Last time I heard a reference to office workers as "drones," it occurred to me that this usage is backwards, since drones in the insect world don't actually work; the ones that do the work, as the guests mentioned, are called "workers." Hmm, maybe this could be discussed on one of Leonard's language segments.

And of course, the ant in the song trying to move the plant would have to be a worker & therefore female. So it should be "*She's* got high hopes"!

Feb. 22 2008 01:43 PM
a woman from manhattan

In Paris, France, about once a year the sidewalks are literally covered in winged ants for about a week. It's very disconcerting. They're everywhere, flying, on the sidewalks, feels like a plague! Why does this happen?

Feb. 22 2008 01:41 PM
richard sloat from east village

Years ago when living in Taiwan I watched ants attacking earthworms using sharp bits of straw, along with biting to kill the worms. Could you comment on the use of tools by ants.

Feb. 22 2008 12:37 PM

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