Ant  

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"The plot in French entomologist and writer Bernard Werber's Les Fourmis science-fiction trilogy is divided between the worlds of ants and humans; ants and their behaviour is described using contemporary scientific knowledge."--Sholem Stein

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Ants are social insects of the family Formicidae, and along with the related wasps and bees, they belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the mid-Cretaceous period between 110 and 130 million years ago and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. Today, more than 12,500 species are classified with upper estimates of about 22,000 species.

In culture

Anthropomorphised ants have often been used in fables and children's stories to represent industriousness and cooperative effort. They also are mentioned in religious texts. In the Book of Proverbs in the Bible, ants are held up as a good example for humans for their hard work and cooperation. Aesop did the same in his fable The Ant and the Grasshopper. In the Quran, Sulayman is said to have heard and understood an ant warning other ants to return home to avoid being accidentally crushed by Sulayman and his marching army.

In parts of Africa, ants are considered to be the messengers of the deities. Some Native American mythology, such as the Hopi mythology, considers ants as the very first animals. Ant bites are often said to have curative properties. The sting of some species of Pseudomyrmex is claimed to give fever relief. Ant bites are used in the initiation ceremonies of some Amazon Indian cultures as a test of endurance.

Ant society has always fascinated humans and has been written about both humorously and seriously. Mark Twain wrote about ants in his 1880 book A Tramp Abroad. Some modern authors have used the example of the ants to comment on the relationship between society and the individual. Examples are Robert Frost in his poem "Departmental" and T. H. White in his fantasy novel The Once and Future King. The plot in French entomologist and writer Bernard Werber's Les Fourmis science-fiction trilogy is divided between the worlds of ants and humans; ants and their behaviour is described using contemporary scientific knowledge. H.G. Wells wrote about intelligent ants destroying human settlements in Brazil and threatening human civilization in his 1905 science-fiction short story, The Empire of the Ants.

Renowned myrmecologist E. O. Wilson wrote a short story, "Trailhead" in 2010 for The New Yorker magazine, which describes the life and death of an ant-queen and the rise and fall of her colony, from an ants' point of view. The French neuroanatomist, psychiatrist and eugenicist Auguste Forel believed that ant societies were models for human society. He published a five volume work from 1921 to 1923 that examined ant biology and society.

In the early 1990s, the video game SimAnt, which simulated an ant colony, won the 1992 Codie award for "Best Simulation Program".

Ants also are quite popular inspiration for many science-fiction insectoids, such as the Formics of Ender's Game, the Bugs of Starship Troopers, the giant ants in the films Them! and Empire of the Ants, Marvel Comics' super hero Ant-Man, and ants mutated into super-intelligence in Phase IV. In computer strategy games, ant-based species often benefit from increased production rates due to their single-minded focus, such as the Klackons in the Master of Orion series of games or the ChCht in Deadlock II. These characters are often credited with a hive mind, a common misconception about ant colonies.

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ant" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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