Indonesian fire ant has incredible strength and balancing abilities

I find these pictures from Eko Adiyanto living in Java, Indonesia to be incredible; almost unbelievable. When I saw them, I wondered if they’d been staged and photo-edited but apparently not. He took the photos in his garden. He says that the ants carried these relatively enormous weights with great ease.

This species of ant is one of the strongest creatures on the planet relative to its size. In the pics they are carrying a ripe strawberry and a berry of unknown species. Just amazing. The strength is amazing enough but how to they keep the fruit balanced above them? Looking at them again I do find them unbelievable. They defy the laws of physics.

Indonesian fire ant

Fire ants are several species of ants in the genus Solenopsis, which includes over 200 species. Solenopsis are stinging ants, and most of their common names reflect this, for example, ginger ants and tropical fire ants. Many of the names shared by this genus are often used interchangeably to refer to other species of ant (Wikipedia). There is nothing in Wikipedia about their incredible strength. They are great survivors able to withstand subzero temperatures and floods. During Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017, clumps of fire ants, known as rafts, were seen clumped together on the surface of the water. Each clump had as many as 100,000 individual ants, which formed a temporary structure until finding a new permanent home (Wikipedia).

Their sting is nasty. Fire ant stings can be quite painful and cause discomfort. When a fire ant bites into the skin, it uses its jaws to anchor itself in place, and then it injects a venom into the wound through its stinger. The venom of fire ants contains a mixture of toxins, including alkaloids and proteins, which are responsible for the painful sensation and the subsequent reaction.

The intensity of the sting varies among individuals, and some people may be more sensitive or allergic to the venom, leading to more severe reactions. The initial sensation is typically a sharp, burning pain, hence the name “fire ant.” The area around the sting may become red, swollen, and itchy. Small blisters or pustules may also develop within a day or two.

In most cases, the symptoms are localized to the area of the sting and subside within a few hours or days. However, some individuals may experience a more severe reaction, such as an allergic reaction. Symptoms of an allergic reaction to fire ant stings can include severe swelling, itching, hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and in rare cases, anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic response.

If you are stung by a fire ant and experience a severe reaction or have any concerns, it is important to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can provide appropriate treatment and advice based on your specific situation.

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