I’m enjoying the Olli class I’m taking at Florida State University more than I could’ve imagined. The class, The Parallel Universe of Ants, taught by Walter R. Tschinkel the author of The Fire Ants, is everything I’d hoped it would be, and more.
For one thing, Dr. Tschinkel has a great sense of humor, and he employs it with endless patience as we laypeople ask basic questions, often the same questions multiple times in one class period. He’s a veritable encyclopedia of ant info. I like the class so much I purchased his book.
It’s at least an inch thick, so it’ll keep me occupied for some time to come.
I know this is what you’re waiting for–FABULOUS ANT FACT #3:
After mating, female fire ants literally break off their wings after returning from the mating flight. That sounds harsh, but at least they don’t perish after mating as their male counterparts do.
Here’s a bonus tidbit that might come in handy at trivia some day. The study of ants is called Myrmecology, and those who study ants are myrmecologists.
I found this video of Dr. Tschinkel’s appearance on CBS Sunday Morning. The segment was filmed at the place he calls Ant Heaven. With any luck I’ll get to visit there in a couple of weeks when our class goes on a field trip!
I’m no myrmecologist, but I know an ant when I see one.