Just a couple cool videos I’ve discovered thanks to Science Memebase. In both cases, the protagonists are hymenopterans, the group of insects that includes wasps, bees and ants. Although there are many species of solitary hymenopterans (at least in the case of bees and wasps), these critters are of course mainly known for their complex and sometimes abnormally huge societies. And these videos really seem to highlight the importance of cooperation between the individuals of these colonies.
The first video shows an incredible behaviour of fire ants that create a nearly-impossible-to-sink raft – with their bodies. I knew they could make long bridges, but I had never realized how waterproof the structures they created could be. This incredible level of coordination shows how the use of the term “superorganism” to describe these colonies is not only correct, but also mandatory.
The second video shows a classic battle between two old rivals – with a musical twist. The main characters are the european honeybees Apis mellifera and the deadly Japanese Hornets Vespa mandarinia japonica, an Apoidea and a Vespoidea respectively (both part of the Aculeata). The author o the video added an epic music track for added spectacularity, and the results are awesome. Should epic soundtracks be implemented in nature documentaries? I don’t think it’s such a bad idea: life is epic, give it a proper musical score.
The Japanese Hornets prey the eggs and larvae of the bees, after finding their colonies thanks to scouts sent to explore the territory. One of the coolest facts of this eternal war is the way the bees can counter the presence of a scout: they swarm on it and start vibrating their bodies until the temperature gets so high that the hornet is cooked alive. Fuck yeah.