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Goons Are Great

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owlhawk911 posted:

thank you for all the great ant posting, that video is brutal af. i wish i could've seen the end of the battle

I think I would have put it behind an nsfw tag actually because as soon as the second ant joined the battle it became quite brutal due to the ants' strategy to break a victims defenses by pulling them apart, which is what happened. Basically they just care to make the prey stop moving in an annoying way and afterwards start cutting it apart for feeding purposes regardless of the prey's health bar, so you can imagine what I mean when I say it's a dick move to feed live prey.
Ants are relentless and have absolutely no mercy for no one.

If you do want to see an example of how brutal this can be, I'd "recommend" watching this extremely brutal video by AntsCanada where he offered his extremely aggressive fire ants (Solenopsis Sp.) a live cockroach that.. Also happened to have babies.
Disclaimer: Seriously, if you are disgusted by insects or the act of feeding do not watch this and if don't want to feel empathy for a dying cockroach, it's also best to not see. Even for me this is not a pleasant view and I'm quite used to see insects being savage.

Edit: really, don't watch this video if you're not ready and pay attention to the disclaimers he put in the video. Just because it's insects doesn't mean it's nice to see animals being devoured by masses of other animals. They are thousands and they effectively swarm, overwhelm and kill their prey, that's what ants do and it's not nice to watch.

Goons Are Great fucked around with this message at 19:27 on Apr 5, 2020


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owlhawk911

this was a great illustration of the saying "be careful what you wish for". that kinda wrecked my post-breakfast vibe and now i'm gonna go blaze again

i think the difference is yours was a 1v1 struggle and that one you linked was an uncaring swarm dismantling life


https://i.imgur.com/vLsp28z.mp4
this sig brought to you by heather papps

Goons Are Great

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Yeah that's kinda it, ants never do 1v1 or are anywhere close to fair. It's all about survival, being efficient and win the game. Ant warfare is not different either, de facto when it comes to a 1v1 between two ants from different nests it's a stalemate unless one of them hits with the venom better or one of them gets help from another ant. Due to every single ants never ending will to sacrifice their own life and well-being for the sake of the colony it's always exclusively a numbers game and that's no different for hunting prey.

The one colony who manages to kill faster, with less energy wasted and with more food for each ant will always outwit the one that doesn't do that and in evolution only the better ones can make it. So it gets really nasty and brutal.

For me it's not anywhere close to better "just because" they're insects, even though a dying fly or cockroach hardly causes empathy in humans.
So another disclaimer, don't watch the linked video above unless you really feel ok with watching a pregnant cockroach being torn apart by thousands of ants. It's insects, but it's still brutal beyond imagination.

Actually I'm going to tag the link, too.

Goons Are Great fucked around with this message at 19:28 on Apr 5, 2020


Stoner Sloth


between jewel wasps and ants, cockroaches get some tough breaks!

i don't really have a problem with watching this sort of stuff cause it is just how nature works but it's still pretty brutal. amazing video though and rare to capture those kind of scenes

does really illustrate why ants are so successful in the natural world

e: really glad the colony is doing well and defending their food supply! thanks for the update GaG!



sigs by the awesome Manifisto, Vanisher, City of Glompton, and Pot Smoke Phoenix - ty friends!

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




eusociality is fascinating. the hive/colony/term is a potentially immortal lifeform comprised of untold discrete elements.


thanks everyone for posting, but six and vanisher especially!!!

cheetah7071

honk honk



got linked this from the byob spaceship thread in games, ants rule and eusocial insects are just about the raddest creatures living on this planet

some cool ant facts I've picked up from various documentaries. Unfortunately I can't remember the exact species in question for any of them.

Not all workers are incapable of reproduction. Some species reinforce the reproductive exclusivity of the queen socially, rather than biologically. I can't find the documentary to double check exactly which species, but there's one native to Arizona iirc where if a worker gets pregnant while there's still an active queen, her sisters will hold her down and starve her until the pregnancy is stillborn

There's at least one species where, rather than both genders having nuptial flights, the females will stick around with their mothers and the males will go looking for alternate colonies. They're too big to fit into the tunnels, so they submit to having their wings and limbs torn off by the workers and then just sorta hope the colony actually needs a new male because sometimes the workers will just say no thank you and eat him instead of dragging him in to mate

There's a species of termite that, in its constant evolutionary battle against the local ant species, is just barely under twice an ant's proportions. This means their tunnels (which are termite sized, of course) can't fit two ants side by side, and the termites get to fight the ants 1v1 if the ants come invading, which the larger termite will basically always win.

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




cheetah7071 posted:

eusocial insects are just about the raddest creatures living on this planet

yes, i agree with this very much! the idea that naked mole rats are the singular eusocial mammal is worth diving into for a few hours at least. i used to think they were ugly but now i see them as lovely


thanks everyone for posting, but six and vanisher especially!!!

Goons Are Great

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cheetah7071 posted:

got linked this from the byob spaceship thread in games, ants rule and eusocial insects are just about the raddest creatures living on this planet

some cool ant facts I've picked up from various documentaries. Unfortunately I can't remember the exact species in question for any of them.

Not all workers are incapable of reproduction. Some species reinforce the reproductive exclusivity of the queen socially, rather than biologically. I can't find the documentary to double check exactly which species, but there's one native to Arizona iirc where if a worker gets pregnant while there's still an active queen, her sisters will hold her down and starve her until the pregnancy is stillborn

There's at least one species where, rather than both genders having nuptial flights, the females will stick around with their mothers and the males will go looking for alternate colonies. They're too big to fit into the tunnels, so they submit to having their wings and limbs torn off by the workers and then just sorta hope the colony actually needs a new male because sometimes the workers will just say no thank you and eat him instead of dragging him in to mate

There's a species of termite that, in its constant evolutionary battle against the local ant species, is just barely under twice an ant's proportions. This means their tunnels (which are termite sized, of course) can't fit two ants side by side, and the termites get to fight the ants 1v1 if the ants come invading, which the larger termite will basically always win.

That's all entirely true!
In general only the most advanced (in terms of their evolution) species developed a biological difference between the worker and the queen caste, in which only one of them has functional ovaries. Most primal ant species, including those present in Arizona (Ponerinae) have fully functional ovaries but their sexual activity is suppressed by hormones the queen spreads, which sometimes however doesn't work properly, for example when there is just a lot of wind going through the nest and it just gets blown away, or there are corners where the chemicals aren't as concentrated as required. I also somewhere ITT posted about Ponerinae ant species that feature so called "Gamergate" (the Latin word, not the you know) in which queens are "elected" and enthroned by factions formed as soon as the current queen has disappeared or stopped excreting her hormones. The factions then choose their new leader and they will fight each other in a huge game of thrones until a new queen is found, which will proceed by killing all pregnant ants in the nest, isolate those who rebelled against her and enforce her will by force with her loyal servants. This cycle can go on endlessly and those colonies can live practically for an infinite amount of time, some of those colonies in Australia, for example, are believed to exist for more than 200 years.

Termites are also super exciting, as it's the only animal that is almost a mortal enemy as big as other ants. They are in an eternal conflict in tropical regions and them fighting make up the vast majority (around 90%) of the rain forests' non-tree surface.
Not only do they co-evolve massively towards each other due to their million years of war, but they even sometimes evolve into something that can do nothing against anything except ants/termites respectively. There are tropical ants that got insanely big mandibles that hinders them in almost any way, except to cut open hostile termites, and then there are termite soldiers (in their respective caste, termite nests function fundamentally different to ants) that grow an absurdly large head which they use stick into the soil to seal the paths into the nest, so that ants can not go through. These heads are then massively armored and are protected against ant venom, so they form a living wall.

Imagine what must happen in an ant's head when they smell a termite nearby after millions of year of conflict!


Goons Are Great

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Actually, do you guys want a termite effort post to see what makes them so different to ants? I'd assume many people mix them and what they do up, even though they are entirely different and aren't even remotely related to each other, maybe I can bring some light to that.


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Goons Are Great posted:

Actually, do you guys want a termite effort post to see what makes them so different to ants? I'd assume many people mix them and what they do up, even though they are entirely different and aren't even remotely related to each other, maybe I can bring some light to that.
My house is about half eaten by formosan termites and they were swarming here a week or two ago and i haaaaaate those bastards, but know your enemy etc.

We also have tons of fire ants here and now I am terrified they will dismember me in the night



ty Manifisto for this wonderful sig!

Heather Papps


hello internet friend




i think the main diff between termites and ants is that aunts drink wine and termites like oaky aged sorta distilled drinks


thanks everyone for posting, but six and vanisher especially!!!

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Alright, I got some time on my hands anyways, so let's do this!

They will destroy everything you love (if made out of wood): Termites

Termites is actually a term referring to a whole order of insects, the order Isoptera. As a reminder, ants are a family (Formicidae) in the order of Hymenoptera in the class Insecta, so you already can see that apart from being both insects, ants and termites are not related to each other at all, similar like a butterfly (order Lepidoptera) is not a bee (family Apidae).
As a matter of fact, Isoptera are actually closely related to the superorder Dictyoptera, which you might know as cockroaches. Yep, that's right, basically they are eusocial cockroaches are you are drat right to be scared about that.



Here we have a couple of termite workers. Similar to ants, they form castes, but those are very different to the ones ants have, both in how they are made and determined and in what they can do. There are queens, kings, workers and soldiers. Termites are not haplodiploid genetically and thus both males and females have the full set of chromosomes, which results in a termite colony being full of both males and female termites. That is one first, fundamental difference to ants which almost exclusively are female when not in reproduction phase.
In general, the caste system of termites is a lot more strict than it is with ants - there a worker can be a soldier, a egg-cleaning machine, a queen feeder, a hunter, a stalker, a scout, it's all the same caste (except for a few ant species that develop specific soldiers with massively enlarged weapons for combat only). Termites have workers that practically do not leave their home and only do stuff in there, while soldiers are precisely formed to defend the colony and attack invaders. If the colony is expanding, soldiers are guarding the workers top to bottom.
Workers look like this:

Whereas soldiers can look like this:

(different species, I know, but the point is the different head and mandibles)

Now, the leader of the colony, the king and the queen, have sex almost all the drat time. Imagine how it must be living next to them. A royal couple is without the question the big boss of the colony. The kings are relatively small and don't look too special, usually they only have a different color than the workers, but the queens develop a MASSIVELY expanded abdomen as their ovaries reach almost bursting size over time:

Here you have a queen with her king.
Queen termites are incredibly fertile and produce thousands and thousands of eggs, on a scale completely unknown to almost any ant species, up to 30 000 eggs per day were reported, whereas even the most active ant species rarely lay more than three or four eggs per queen (ants can make up the difference by being polygynous, meaning they have more than one ant queen as described ITT before, resulting in many, many queens).
King termites are not really much more than sex machines to be honest.
Fertility between the workers is (for many termite species, that is) entirely possible, because termites (in contrast to ants) can shed into different castes even after it was determined earlier, which means that technically the workers of those kinds of termites are actually hyper mobile larvae and not actually adults. The most primal termites still existing are entirely made up out of grown-up larvae, they only live in one piece of wood and as soon as that is entirely eaten up, all living workers shed into queens and kings and swarm out to form new colonies - which, most likely, is the most primal way termites used to live, in which even eusociality is practically not yet a thing, they just happen to live together.

As some of you may know from your home, termites are not rare. In tropical rain forests there are vast areas where almost 100% of dead wood is eaten up by termites, making them the sole reason these woods can still exist in the way we know them today. That is not just special in that regard, eating wood in general is very, very, very rare and weird and it is still mostly unclear how it was scientifically possible in the first place.
That is because wood, or in general cellulose, is extremely difficult to digest. We humans, for example, are incapable of digesting any plants directly, we require bacteria that live in our body to split it up into easier molecules and then digest those (yeah, if you eat a salad, you don't actually eat it, you eat bacteria poop). Termites do it just like that, because in an incredibly unique way, they managed to team up with very specific bacteria of extremely rare families sometime during evolution, which enabled them to digest wood. That is remarkable, because those bacteria by now do not exist anywhere else in the world except the internal organs of termites and we to this day do not know how they got there in the first place or how new born termites get their hands on them.
Almost all termites, with some exception, eat nothing but wood, which is the primal way of life, too. Many species are able to expand their diet with humus or grass and there are also some that eat fungi that they grow similar to how farmer ants do it, but wood is still usually the main diet and most likely the reason you might not like termites in your house.
This is not just important for your home, but also for the planet - termites are so insanely common in the tropics that their farts and gas they produce while eating wood are a vital factor on the natural global greenhouse effect, as they produce massive amounts of methane during their feeding frenzies. You can imagine how we humans can gently caress this up by burning down forests and replacing it with factories that poop out CO2.

As noted before, ants and termites are mortal enemies. Both animals are extremely common in tropical rain forests and almost the entirety of the soil is covered in either ants, termites or them fighting. They co-evolved into specific enemy versions of each other, they murder each other in billions every single day and, together, they make up an estimated ~12% of the total biomass on earth. Along with other eusocial insects (mainly the very few species of bees that are eusocial) they form, by far, the highest number of individual multicellular animals on the planet, excluding archaea, spring tails and other lower phylums of animals.
Think about that when you complain about them eating a part of your house! They outnumber the human species massively and given their age (a bit older than ants, estimated ~280 million years) they probably know more about this planet than we ever will.


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