Yesterday was the second of six Olli classes I’m taking at Florida State University on the Parallel Universe of Ants. For those of you unfamiliar with Olli, here’s a link to their website.
If you’re fortunate enough to live near a university offering Olli classes, I urge you to get involved. I’ve immersed myself in learning about ants now, and perhaps you can be immersed in some new interest as well.
Fabulous Ant Fact: Fire ants mate 300 feet above the earth; although, no one has actually witnessed the act.
So, how do we know this is the case? Researchers have taken to the air in planes with nets attached. These nets have collected the bodies of male fire ants as high above the earth as 300 feet.
The males fly in mating swarms early in the morning. Females follow later and return after each has mated with a male. The females then lose their wings and attempt to start their own colony. The males, having depleted their store of energy in the form of glycol, die upon returning to land.
I took copious amounts of notes during the lecture, but mostly I said “Oooh” and “Ahhhh!” at appropriate intervals.
Our instructor presented slides of dozens of varieties of ant species. Some look remarkably like aliens, if aliens exist.
Aren’t they beautiful?
Studly Doright thinks this class is ridiculous. I think it’s fantastic. They do say that opposites attract. Hope he hasn’t expended his store of glycol. 😉