Ants Video Wins YouTube Award
An unbelievable look at the ponerine African antPublished November 26, 2012
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The other day, my husband Marty burst excitedly into my office while I was searching for some interesting material about which to write. He demanded that I drop everything I was doing to come see one of the most fascinating and riveting videos which featured insects that he had never seen. At the same time, however, he warned me that there was some very graphic carnage displayed in the video.
Ants are not considered pets. In fact, the majority of people simply reverse a couple of the letters in the word “pets”, since these tiny creatures are more commonly regarded as “pests”. But as they are a part of the animal world and make valuable contributions to our ecology, after I watched the video I was inspired me to write about it.
Although most folks may find bugs repugnant, I would bet my bottom dollar if huge swarms of termites were threatening our homes and if this species of predatory ponerine African ants just happened to suddenly show up in our neighborhood, these wondrous miniature hunters would have a red carpet rolled out right way, inviting these aggressive insects to start doing what they do so well; feasting on their prey: the colonies of wood- ingesting morsels.
Entomologists are a very special and oftentimes courageous group of scientists whose mission is studying the life cycle and habits of the astronomical number of insects making their home on the planet. They examine insect behavior, ecology, and how these tiny critters interact with people, other animals, the effect they have on plant life, and vectors for diseases they spread to humans and animals. Through their important work, entomologists have saved countless lives finding ways to prevent disease and how to preserve crops.
Since 2009, The Entomological Society of America sponsors “Your Entomology Contest”, an open YouTube competition with a $200 prize and trophy awarded to the winning video. This year, according to the New York Times, the winning video is “Ants Africa”, made by Dr. Marlin E. Rice, the former professor of entomology at Iowa State University, and the former president of the Entomological Society.
Dr. Rice and his wife do volunteer work, through their church at an orphanage in Zambia. Dr. Rice is always armed with his Sony video camera so as not to miss an opportunity to capture any exciting insect drama. This year he filmed some fascinating and highly dramatic footage of a swarm of marching African ants with which he mixed in other footage from five of his other Zambian excursions.
While this video doesn’t belong in a “cute and fuzzy” domestic pet category, it certainly is a brilliant depiction of a less well known creature, the ponerine African Ant--a powerful, but tiny animal sharing our world. Uploaded to YouTube by entsoc, its background music, “Inception- Mind Heist” adds the perfect dramatic touch.
How did you react to the video? Tell us in a comment.