Main | Bottle Cube, The Movie »

Why Soldier Ant?

Carrying on a proud tradition of superhero origin stories, I feel compelled to explain myself. So, why 'Soldier Ant'? (Especially when 'Worker Bee' is probably closer to the mark.)

First, it helps to understand something about trophallaxis, the process whereby ants in a colony balance the group's nutritional needs via shared mutual mastication and digestion.

Adventuresome, far-ranging ants will bring bellies-ful of exotic treats (an interesting leaf, perhaps, or a piece of fallen berry) back from their constant perambulations -- and vomit said treats up to share with fellow ants. (Ants who, themselves, may be purging up some different foodstuffs -- kind of an ant-equivelant of "Show me yours and I'll show you mine.") Each ant benefits from having access to a wider variety of nutritional content, and the colony as a whole thrives and survives.

Ants invented Reesie-cups

An interesting side-effect of the whole process, however, is that more than just food gets passed along. Trophallaxis is also, it seems, a very effective means for ants to transfer Information. Information about potential danger, a potential windfall, or just information about the lay of the land: what's been traversed, what was found, and where to find it again.

So there you have it. Welcome to my vomit. Please leave some of your own.

Comments (3)

The hardcore ant fans amongst you would probably argue that it's the worker ants - not the soldiers - that would be most likely to forage and share food. From what I've been told, the soldiers are only summoned to bring the smack-down once a threat to the colony is discovered.

You got me -- here is the exact point at which my metaphor breaks down.


If the soldier ants do not participate in that then maybe you have a metaphor for how the strength of a society is measured by the cooperation of the proletariat not by the military strength of the army.


Just don't call it Drone Ant:
Great for a few hours; dead in a day or two.
One that lives on the labors of others : PARASITE

Oh well, so much for my vomit.
keep on soldierin'

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 23, 2002 1:21 AM.

The next post in this blog is Bottle Cube, The Movie.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


Subscribe to feed Subscribe to my feed
Powered by FeedBurner
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.33