BRI NEWS 'Weaver Ants, the expert builders' –The third episode of 'Discovering Mysteries' launched

BRI NEWS

'Weaver Ants, the expert builders' –The third episode of 'Discovering Mysteries' launched

hiHainan

18:25, May 25, 2020

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On May 11, the first season of Discovering Mysteries was launched in the column This is Hainan by the New Hainan app, focusing on the natural environment of Hainan, showing Hainan’s ecological resources, species diversity, ecological scientific research and protection, and the achievements of the construction of the National Ecological Civilization Experimental District. It takes you to explore the mystery in the rainforest and find more from a macroscopic to a microscopic perspective.

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On the banks of the Nanmei River, on the widely spreading treetop branches hang several round objects. These are the nests of the "Expert Builders" - Weaver Ants. Weaver Ants build their nests facing the sun at the top of the trees.

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The ants select a location then the worker ants hook their back legs into the surface of a leaf, stretch their bodies out and bite the edge of another leaf, pulling the leaves together. When the distance between leaves is too far, one ant bites the waist of the next and bit by bit they close the gap, forming an "ant bridge". After the branches and leaves are gathered together, the Weaver Ants carry their mature larvae to the places that need to be bound together, and stimulate the larval ants to produce silk.

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The fine strands of silk bind the leaves together, forming a perfect nest. Weaver ants are a kind of arboreal ants and are a typical example of a social insect species. They are naturally fierce with strict ranks. The worker ants, who cannot reproduce, spend their whole lives in busy toil. These ants have large, powerful jaws and bodies that can extend and retract. These specialized body parts plus the clear division of labor means they must all work together to create this nest which resembles a work of art.

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The outside fits together seamlessly while the inside is like a completely different world. The omnivorous Weaver Ants prey on many species of insect pests and they have been used as a method of pest control in citrus orchards for over 1,700 years.


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