A Conversation for Leaf-cutter Ants

Surgical use of leaf cutter ants

Post 1


Great entry, Amy!
I lived some months in the Brazilian Amazonas, and I eye-witnessed a "surgical" use of those ants. When they get a cut, Indios (or at least SOME indios in the Rio Negro area) search for these ants. They get them one at a time; when kept between two fingers, the ant opens up its jaws. At this point you put the ant close to the cut, keeping the two edges of the cut together. The ant bites, with one of the jaws on each side of the cut; you snatch the ant strongly, the head of the ant leaves the body and keeps the cut closed, working as a suture. You put as many ant-heads as you need. The head of the ant has enough strength to keep the two sides of a shirt together!
This method is completely natural and VERY effective. Scars result very thin, and there's no infection usually.
Davide a.k.a. twinsouls

Surgical use of leaf cutter ants

Post 2

Amy the Ant - High Manzanilla of the Church of the Stuffed Olive

That's quite amazing although I'm not very comfortable with the idea of ants having their heads ripped off for the purpose.

*twitches antennae*

Amy smiley - ant

Surgical use of leaf cutter ants

Post 3


Me neither, but it works very vell, is painless (for the human), and can save your life. In that environment, the faster you get your cuts closed, the lesser probability you have to catch an infection OR some insects posing eggs in your flesh. And, you know, there's quite a lot of ants, isn't it? I won't enter here a philosophical debate about life and death, but as I see it, now ant's body serves to my life, tomorrow MY body will serve somebody else's life... so we're even.
However, I found interesting that the Indios developed such a suture system. It reminds me our metallic suture. But they developed it centuries ago...
Davide a.k.a. twinsouls

Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more