Everyone is familiar with ants. They are found in every part of the earth — over six thousand different kinds.
Ants cannot eat solid food. While it looks like they are eating bits of meat, sweets, etc., what they are actually doing is covering the food with digestive juices. These break the solids down into liquid form which can then be lapped up with their tiny tongues. There is one species called fungus ants that chews leaves into piles of pulp which they place in their nests. Fungus live on this moist material and the ants eat these fungi as their only source of food. To be sure of a constant supply they take care of the fungi beds just as a gardener works in his garden.
The ant starts life as an egg which hatches into a larvae, like a miniature caterpillar. The larvae cannot move and have to be fed by adult ants. Eventually the larva goes into a pupa stage, at which time it spins a cocoon [around itself as it metamorphoses into its adult form]. The adult ants are very protective of these cocoons, taking them into a "nursery room" and watching over them constantly. If the colony decides to move or if they fear the attack of an enemy, the cocoons are picked up and carried to a new home. Sometimes those observing this mistakenly think the white objects are eggs, but actually the eggs are so small they can hardly be seen. Later, when the pupae break out of their cocoons, they come out as fully developed ants, ready to take their place in the colony.
Most ants have compound eyes, both of which will have a thousand or more surfaces-- each acting as a separate eye. However, they do not seem to see images as we do. It is more the sense of smell that directs them in finding food, locating other ants, or finding their nests. One researcher counted over two hundred "smelling" cones in one of these little insects. They are also helped by a sensitive touch through the antennae on their heads.
How have all their abilities and habits come about? Certainly not by any self-teaching. God has given them these outstanding qualities and we may be sure He watches over them and everything they do. Perhaps, too, He would like us to find an object lesson in their busy and industrious lives. For instance, God does not look with favor on idleness and has told us "That if any would not work, neither should he eat." 2 Thessalonians 3:10. No ant ever loafs.
Another Scripture says: "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth." Lamentations 3:27. We should never weary of well-doing and always remember the pattern of the Lord Jesus who, when here, "went about doing good." But it is a serious thought that our best efforts to do good are of no use unless we know the Lord Jesus as our own personal Saviour. For "without faith it is impossible to please Him." Hebrews 11:6.
Copied with permission from Messages of God's Love. More articles in The Wonders of God's Creation (Volumes 1-4) by Sidney R. Gill, also published by Bible Truth Publishers, Addison, IL 60101.
>> More God's Creation Articles