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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A meal for many

Yesterday I found this centipede being dragged along by some ants to their nest. Note how few ants are on it at this stage. From when I noticed it and took the first picture, this process took about an hour.
First they took it past their hole and tried to back it in.
Then they reversed it and tried the other way.
Maybe they decided that they could not manage and took it around the corner to a SMALLER hole? Weird!!
On this side there are two holes, each much smaller than the first and can be seen at the left and right in the picture below.
Firstly they tried to take it in head first......
...then decided that this was not working and backed it up to the next hole.(Enlarge this and try to count the ants now!!)
Nope!! That didn't work either!!
Back to the other hole and in the meantime other ants were taking off the legs and other parts of the body and carrying them off one by one.
Eventually after a lot of going backwards, forwards, trimming and turning it around, it slowly dissapeared down the hole. I am sure it is going to supply them with food for quite a few days to come. It was interesting to watch their drive and determination to get this centipede down the hole and the longer they took to do it, the more ants joined in.

30 comments:

Kenneth Ramos said...

Reminds me of people moving furniture. I noticed one or two ants of much larger size, any idea of their function in this moving evolution?

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! I thought of that too Ken. Not sure where to put anything, including the food.

Nest usually have major and minor workers with the major being much larger than the minor.

Firefly said...

Awesome series of pics. I am always amazed when I see ants doing this to bigger "food".

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Jonker. You are right, it should be the other way around shouldn't it? :)

troutbirder said...

There's got to be a moral here for us someplace! :)

SABlogger said...

I think I am in the same situation today as that poor centipede. LOL!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

How about: "eat or be eaten" TB? :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Do you mean you are half dead Lawrence? Or maybe you are being dragged along by the leg? :)

Gaelyn said...

Ants are SO fascinating. They must have a great communication system.
Does sort of remind me of moving furniture. ;-) This is an excellent series Joan.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

They sure are Gaelyn. I just my movers never bite pieces out of my furniture to get it in the door. LOL!!

Craver Vii said...

I wonder how much stronger the major workers are than the minor ones. Something to ponder: Think how such a moving project would unfold with the same amount of people doing a similar project... with one exception... no verbal communication.

SABlogger said...

Hi Joan, yes I am dragged by the leg but LOL! I can still post a comment but these ants won't get me down. I'll eat them LOL!

Life in Egypt said...

Glad to see I am not the only person who is fascinated by our tiny creatures. last year I watched the ants carry a small Greco across the road it had been run over and half of it was flat. and so had a lot of the ants been flattened by passing traffic it took them under an hour to move it to the side of the road where the
ant hole was,I gave up and left them to the task no sooner had I turned around a crow came and made a meal of it.

Natural Moments said...

That's one thing ants are really good at: to work together as a fluent team and the desire to get a job done.

Mary said...

Ick...but fascinating! Maybe they were moving it around calling for help to dismantle it. What a funny sequence! You do see the most interesting things in the bug world to show us.

Tammie Lee said...

that is one incredible tale! thank you for sharing this.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

That would be chaos Craver!! They can't even do it WITH communication!! :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Go for it Lawrence. I know you can do it!! LOL! LOL!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! Poor ants to have their food stolen away like that Tony. There are so many species of ants and it has been interesting to note the different behaviour in them. All of nature is fasinating to me but these smaller critters steal my heart.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

It was interesting to see how the more they struggled, the more ants joined in Bernie. Eventually I was wondering how heavy the centipeded must be as many of the ants were being dragged along by the front ones or were on top of it.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I love finding something interesting like this Mary. We so often pass up this small world as our interest lies in bigger things.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Tammie. You are welcome. Good to hear from you again. This Christmas and New Year time does mess everything up doesn't it and I am always pleased to get back to normal? :)

Philip said...

It strange they can get things done properly without them trying to kill each other or one standing on a rock saying I'm the boss listen to me :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I wonder where us humans got those awful traits from Philip, the "I am the boss" syndrome? The natural world seems to do pretty well without it.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Joan: What a neat story with a great amount of detailed photos. How many ants does it take to eat a centipede? Obliviously a nest of ants.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Tom. AT this time of year there is probably a lot of larvae in the nests too, so it is going to feed many mouths.

Becky said...

Looks like a picnic to me! Very interesting!

Becky and Gary said...

How interesting Joan. You must have stayed with them the entire hour..
I see some larger ants. What are they doing?
PS, I don't like red ants. I got stung by some one time!
B.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Becky (Florida). It is so good to hear from you again. Were you on vacation? I would not want any of those on my picnic thank you. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Hello Becky, no I did not stay with them all the time. I would keep on coming back every 10 minutes or so to see how they were progressing as I was at work at the time.

The larger ants are the major workers of the colony and are there to do most of the work.

Red ants are a bugger. I have been bitten by them enough times myself as they are so small you can go and sit on a nest of them in the grass and not notice them until too late. OUCH!!