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Before you squish that spider...

>> Wednesday, November 18, 2009

...you might want to read this.

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has spent any considerable amount of time watching ants or honeybees that they are remarkably complex creatures.

I've spent quite a bit of time with my eyes at ground level watching ant wars in my own yard.  It's incredible when one nest swarms another and they battle it out on an epic level that would rival some Civil War battles, with wings of troops coming around the back to surprise the enemy, attempts to divide up the enemy groups, and all sorts of other amazing and minute tactics.  I only got a decent camera when I started this blog and I still don't have a macro lens, so I don't have great photos to share.  You can be sure the next time I witness an attack I'll do my best to capture it, though.

I also watched a show on PBS a number of years ago about how honeybees engage in pattern and color recognition, and can even potentially count.  The article I linked to above notes that "bees, for example, can sting, scout for food, guard the hive and fan their wings for ventilation, along with more than 50 other behaviors. The insect's behavioral repertoire, in fact, surpasses that of some vertebrates."

Okay.  50 separate behaviors.  Huh.  I'm not sure my dogs even have 50 separate behaviors.  Begging for attention, whuffling the cats, stealing anything remotely edible off counters and out of garbage cans, eating shoes, barking at people who walk by, begging for forgiveness after they've done something they shouldn't... uh, chasing the laser pointer... yeah.  I'm rapidly running out of "behaviors".  50 is a LOT.

We humans tend to be so egocentric when it comes to all other life forms.  Articles like that just reinforce my "try not to squish anything living thing" philosophy (okay, except for mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and a few other bugs that bite, and those slinky fast nasty centipedes that make me stand on a chair and scream like a little girl.  Those I let the cats get).  I say live and let live, as best we can.

For fun, since we're on the subject of bugs and spiders, check out the creepy critter pics that were popping up with the article above.  In case you missed them, click here.  Incredible!

2 comments:

Woodswalker November 19, 2009 at 10:34 PM  

Thanks for the link to those gorgeous insect and spider photos. I especially loved the jumping spider's emerald green eyes and wavy long "eyelashes". Thanks, too, for standing up for the bugs' right to life. I share your compassion, with similar exceptions. It's hard to think loving thoughts about deer ticks when you've had Lyme disease three times!

Woodswoman Extraordinaire: November 20, 2009 at 5:48 PM  

*groan* - Lyme disease is one of my biggest fears. It doesn't seem right that anyone should have to get it at all, much less three times!

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