way to school every day, Joseph walks over to the garden of the
house across the street and waits there for a while. A very special
friend of his lives in this garden. No one knows this friend,
but Joseph loves him a lot. Joseph never forgets to visit his
friend, and enjoys their friendship a lot. After all, he has a
friend who is more intelligent than anyone else. Despite being
very small in size, his friend can do many important things. He
is also very hard-working. He does all of his jobs very well and
at the proper time, just as if he was a soldier in an army. Although
he does not go to school like Joseph, he successfully carries
out the many tasks which he needs to do in his life.
You are wondering who
this little friend is, aren’t you?
Joseph’s secret friend
is a little ant, who can do many wonderful things.
may never have heard how skilful and intelligent ants are. Some
of you may even think of them as simple insects that wander around
all day without doing anything. But those of you who think like
that are mistaken, because ants, just like many other living things,
also have a life of their own.
Joseph has the chance
to learn about the details of this life from his friend. This
is one of the reasons why he never fails to visit his friend and
enjoys his chats with him so much.
Joseph is very amazed
by the things he learns from his friend about the world of the
ants. He wants to share everything he learns about his little
friend’s talents, intelligence and all his other superior traits
with other people.
then, makes Joseph so excited? Why is he so fascinated by the
world of ants? You must be wondering why. So just continue reading...
more of their own kind in this world than most other living creatures.
For every 700 million ants that come into this world, there are
only 40 new-born human beings. In other words, the number of ants
in the world is way above the number of human beings.
Ant families are also
very big. For instance, you probably have a family
of 4-5 people. In an ant family, however, there are sometimes
millions of ants. Now think for a minute: if you had millions
of brothers and sisters, would you be able to live in a single
house? Surely not!
The astonishing features
of ants do not end here. Despite the fact that millions of them
live together, they have no problems with each other, no mix-ups
and no disorder. They live an extremely well planned life with
everyone obeying the rules.
Some ant families do tailoring, others grow their own food like
farmers, and yet others run small farms where they raise some
smaller animals. In the same way as human beings breed cows and
use their milk, ants breed small plant lice (aphids) and use their
Now let’s see what Joseph
has to say about the world of ants:
ants are skilful tailors. They combine leaves by pulling
them from two sides and sewing the leaves together. In this
way, they make a nice home for themselves.
ants guard the nest. They do this job very successfully.
Other ants are also very hard-working. They do all the work
of the nest.
I first noticed him when I saw his tiny head emerging from the
earth. His head attracted my attention, as it was a bit bigger
than his body. I wondered why his head was like that and started
to watch this tiny friend of mine. The big head on his little
body was helping him serve as a guard at the entrance of the nest.
Do you want to know ‘how?’ He was checking whether the ants that
attempted to enter the nest belonged to his own family or not,
and did not let them in if they were strangers.
Soon after seeing him,
I met him and asked him to tell me what was happening inside.
My little friend understood my curiosity, and started to tell
me about it. What I was wondering most was how the ants with big
heads recognised their nest-mates and let them in.
these are my hard-working friends.
"talking" to one another by touching.
Ant: Joseph, let me first tell
you that we call our families a ‘colony.’ In other words, we live
in communities called colonies. An ant can easily tell whether
another ant belongs to its own colony or not. He does it by touching
the other ant’s body with his antenna, (thin little rods coming
out of the top of his head) which helps him to distinguish strangers,
thanks to the ‘colony scent’ they have. If the ant is a stranger,
then we cannot let him into our home. Moreover, we may even have
to use force to send him away.
do not want strangers to enter their nests, because this
will threaten their security. They never hesitate to get
into a fight to protect their nest and friends.
Joseph was surprised to hear about their perfect security system
and wondered how strangers that tried to enter the nest dared
to do so. When he shared this thought with his friend, he smiled
at him and said that there were many other things that would surprise
The Ant then said: "Let me tell
now you about the inside of our nest, which you were eager to
know about. Our colonies consist of the queen ant, male ants,
soldiers, and worker ants.
workers on the job.
The queen and male ants
keep our species going. The queen is larger than all of us. The
duty of the males is to make the queen give birth to new ants.
Soldiers are responsible for protecting our colony, hunting, and
finding new places for nests. The last group consists of the worker
ants. Worker ants are all sterile female ants. That is, they cannot
give birth to new ants. They take care of the queen and her babies,
and clean and feed them.
addition, they also have to do all the other jobs in the colony.
They build new corridors in the nest, search for food and clean
the nest up. The worker and soldier ants also divide into smaller
groups among themselves. Some of these are breeders, builders,
and food-hunters. Each group has a different job. While one group
fights off enemies or hunts, another group builds the nest, and
yet another takes care of the cleaning and repairs of the nest."
As Joseph’s little friend
explained all that, he listened to him with wonder, and then asked
him: "Do you never get bored, waiting at the entrance of the nest
all the time? What is your duty in the nest?"
Ant replied: "I am also a worker,
and my duty is to serve here as a doorman. As you see, my head
is big enough to cover the entrance hole of the nest. I am pleased
that I have this ability, and I carry out my duty with great pleasure.
I never get bored; on the contrary, I am very glad that I protect
friends from threats."
Joseph couldn’t help
but be amazed at his answer. Ants were working all the time to
help others, with no thought for themselves and without any problems—something
even people cannot manage most of the time.
what his little friend told him, he could easily understand that
the work of the nest was perfectly divided up between the ants.
It was obvious that the life of ants was very well-ordered and
all the ants had to be quite unselfish. Then he wondered whether
they had any fights amongst themselves because some of them claimed
that they were better or stronger than others. His friend said
that nothing like that ever happened and added:
are a big family, Joseph. There is no jealousy, competition or
ambition among us. We always help each other and do our best to
serve the colony. Everything in the colony is based on sacrifice.
Each ant thinks of the good of his friends first, and only then
Let me give you an example. When there is a shortage of food in
the colony, the worker ants immediately change into ‘feeder’ ants,
and start feeding others with the food in their reserve stomachs.
When there is enough food in the colony, they again become worker
used to hear people saying that there is competition among living
things in nature. Never believe what they
say. We know very well that we have to cooperate to be successful."
said that what he had told him about himself and his colony was
a very good example of this. He was very glad to know that God
had created him so unselfish, helpful and so fond of his friends.
After what he told him, he decided to be at least as thoughtful
of others as ants were, and be a good person whom God loves.
It had got quite late and he had to get to school. He told his
friend that he had to go, but would certainly come to see him
the next day.