Friday, 27 November 2009

ants (vs human organisations)

One of the interesting things about Ants is they remind me of people

antNestThey build their little city close to nice places and all scurry around doing what the hive needs.

Its sort of fun to watch them.

They scurry about busily, with seemingly no specific purpose. When working alone they can be carrying something back to the nest or carrying something out of it. Work is clearly getting done.

In groups it all seems to break down, with what seems to be an uncoordinated tug of war in all directions.

Eventually the item seems to get back to the nest (despite) all their efforts.

Strange thing is, no matter how disorganized it looks they are really quite successful creatures. Each ant may have totally no idea, but the hive does well

Reminds me a lot of people.

Like this week ... after spending some months working on a database project it appears that the other part of the organisation has decided they can't coordinate themselves properly and have instead gone with each member of their team putting data into a spreadsheet. Essentially leaving me with the leaf ripped out of my mouth after some struggling with pulling it in the right direction. It remains to be seen how much better their direction is ... Glad I'm not the one putting that together later ... mean time I've picked up something else and I'm wandering around with that in my mandibles.

In contrast to Ants (and our organisation), White Ants are quite organized creatures. These cool little guys normally eat decaying tree in the natural environment (and people's Homes in the urban one ;-)

whiteAntsTrackYou won't see them easily in the wild because they can not tolerate extremes of humidity and UV.

So they live inside their food and construct sealed environment walkways between food sources and their nest.

These are really hard to spot as they're made of chewed up wood pulp and blend in nicely, but on the trunk of this white Gum (Eucalyptus) their track stood out clearly.

I thought it would be interesting to give them a little challenge, so I made a small bit of damage to this walkway roof, exposing the interior.

whiteAntsFairly instantly they all set up a guard and protect the gap in their tunnel.

Notice the fellows with the pointy heads? They are quite different to the other ones there which have jaws.

Quickly they set up a strong defense perimeter but do not go beyond it ..

They are quite specialized creatures, some being defenders others being workers.

The fellows with jaws are the workers, and you can see that soon after the defense is set up they emerge and begin repairing the breech in their system.

In the image below you can see clearly the guard ants (with their antenna spread wide to sense any movement or smells) with the workers in below them already chomping and spitting up chewed wood pulp to rebuild the damaged wall.


Quite a good system they have ... no wonder they're so successful.

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