aN expErt gArdEner

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Among the many kinds of ants, the South American leaf-cutting ant amazes biologist with its sophisticated gardening techniques. To provide food, this tiny insects cuts leaf fragments and gathers debris from the forest floor and brings these back to its underground nest. The ant then grinds these bits into a mash to feed its fungus garden. This leaf cutter instinctively knows how to keep its crop at an ideal temperature and humidity level to obtain the best results. To create new allotments, it will transfer cuttings from established crops to newer leaf beds. The leaf-cutting ant has even mastered the art of pruning to maximize fungal growth. Researchers have observed that this skillful horticulturist (art and science of cultivating plants) adjust its efforts according to the food needs of the nest, thus conserving time and energy.

Gardening involves hard work, and the leaf-cutting ant is astounding in this regard. As a certain proverb said, "Go to the ant you lazy one, see its ways and become wise. Although it has no commander, officer or ruler, it prepares its food even in the summer, it has gathered its food supplies even in the harvest." Truely, they are beautiful tiny creatures, created for humans like us to learn from.


donya michy said...

ouch! you know at times i get to spend more than i should. i am aware that i need to save for the "rainy seasons" and i usually fail. the ants will be a good reminder for me to start saving up no matter what.