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the ant and the bluebottle


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#1 The Flying Tench

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 02:09 PM

Have just returned from hols in Switzerland, and sitting by the pool my wife pointed out something that surprised us both. An ant was pulling along a dead bluebottle, six times bigger than itself. Then it slipped down between two paving slabs, and the ant appeared to be trying to bite off one of the wings to get it out.

 

But why? As far as I know ants eat vegetable matter, not dead flies. What did it want the bluebottle for?


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#2 Elton

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 02:31 PM

According to this, they eat other insects:

https://www.rhs.org....profile?pid=503


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#3 John S

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 03:36 PM

They tried to eat Charlton Heston a few decades ago, I remember watching a docudrama about it....


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#4 corydoras

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 04:00 PM

It depends on the species on ant. Some eat vegetable matter, some are carrion eaters, some are predators and many are omnivorous and will eat anything.


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#5 Elton

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 04:52 PM

I've seen a couple of things lately around my place that have made me realise how savage nature is. First was a wasp kicking the crap out of a moth, the second was some black fly thing carrying off the corpse of a spider that, I assume, it had just killed.

 

And I won't even mention the hornets....


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#6 Phone

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Posted 23 September 2019 - 08:05 PM

Tench,

 

Tell your wife only the females are brutal

 

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#7 Huge_Vitae

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 11:35 PM

They tried to eat Charlton Heston a few decades ago, I remember watching a docudrama about it....


It’s far, far worse than you intimate John, I watched a documentary once where some ants were effected by nuclear weapons testing and they had eaten an entire family, later they moved to, I think, San Francisco and taken up residence in a storm drain.

Luckily the US Army moved in and killed all the ants with flame throwers, but it was touch and go at one point.
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#8 chesters1

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 10:27 AM

I saw that documentary, the lucky thing was they were quite vocal so I guess the family had the telly on to loud .i guess the neighbours were relieved after the smell of bits of rotting flesh subsided and they could listen to their gramophone in peace
When I first started working at the uni I ate my sarnies on a nice grassy bank with shady trees, I was sitting there and heard a loud buzzing behind me ,it was a wasp with a large caterpillar in its mandibles trying to take off (i guess it caught the caterpillar in the tree above me) after several attempts to take of it chewed the caterpillar in half and disappeared with one half ,5 minutes later it came back to the exact same spot and retrieved the other half!

Unlike most humans (and that depends on upbringing) animals and insects don't have a conscience so do what they do.
I read somewhere birds have a life of constant fear, going by the sparrowhawk plucking his latest meal of blue tit on my greenhouse I can see why, why the greenhouse!
Do they know they are top predator at that time and just carry on fearless or has no-one mentioned there are cats and depite my throwing objects greenhouses are easy to climb for tiddles!

Edited by chesters1, 26 September 2019 - 10:37 AM.

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#9 corydoras

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 01:32 PM

I guess that depends on the bird. You wouldn't like to tango with a cassowary. They are not scared of anything.

Edited by corydoras, 26 September 2019 - 02:45 PM.

The problem isn't what people don't know, it's what they know that just ain't so.
Vaut mieux ne rien dire et passer pour un con que de parler et prouver que t'en est un!
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#10 Martin56

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 09:42 PM

There are many ant species which eat different things (animal or veg') I was fascinated by the leaf cutter ants when on Holidays in Mexico.

 

Along the hotel pathways, they were at it all day carrying leaves like flags back to the nest, the leaves then decay to make fungi gardens on which they feed.


Edited by Martin56, 07 October 2019 - 09:43 PM.

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