A journey into the eyes and mind of a naturalist.

Sedum Safari

Some people pay thousands of dollars to go on safari in Africa and Asia.  They pay all this money not knowing that the same amazing stories are occurring right outside their front door.  There is all the drama one would expect to find on the African Savannah.  There are large herbivores that move methodically through their forage.  There are predators waiting in every shadow there are even massive ‘herds’ that would rival the numbers of individuals found in Africa.

The only difference between me and those people that spend all that money to go on safari is that I don’t need to cross an ocean to get my fill of nature’s drama.  If you know where to look and have a bit of patience sit and watch the drama unfold.   Instead of an African water-hole choose a flower, which in a way is a watering hole for many different species.  Sit down and watch the story unfold before your eyes.

My safari lasted about twenty minutes and was all the way to a clump of Sedum in my backyard…  Let the adventure begin!

Ants are among the most numerous animals on the planet.  Each year ants turn over more soil than all of human agriculture.  They move by the thousands or even millions as a single entity.  These ants would be the equivalent to the immense herds of Wild-e-beast and Zebra that migrate across the African plains each year.

Ants have eyes and can see quite well, but their primary sense is smell.  They perceive a world of senses in the form of molecules floating through the air.  They communicate with each other by releasing different chemicals for different reactions.  Have you ever wondered why ALL the ants in a nest will attack when disturbed?  One signal sends off a shockwave of chemical signally, rallying all members to attack!  And we thought humans were social!!

Here two ants are communicating somehow.  I’m not an ant expert but here is my interpretation.  Both ants have their antennae around each others mouth parts.  The antennae of ants is where their smell receptors are located.  Perhaps one ant is checking to see if this particular flower head is still producing quality nectar.  Maybe they are just checking in to make sure they are from the same colony.  I really don’t know.  The meeting lasted only a second and the ant peacefully went separate ways.

Ants might not be as impressive to the laymen as the African wildlife of safari legend, but if you begin to appreciate the daily routines that are occurring all around you they become even more amazing that the larges herd of mammals.

Up Next:  Life and Death on a Flower


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