Dr. Brady Barr finds a trail of leafcutter ants in this week’s Creature Feature.
Because they carry cut leaves above their heads like little umbrellas, leafcutter ants are also known as parasol ants. And did you know that a leafcutter ant can carry almost ten times its own weight? That would be like the average eight-year-old carrying a cow!
Leafcutter ants carry the leaf pieces they cut back to their underground nests. The leaves are chewed into a pulp, and afterwards a special fungus grows on them. The leafcutter ants use this fungus, not the leaves, as a crop for their colony to eat!
You can also think of these ants as little farmers with five different jobs: foragers, gardeners, choppers, tiny ants that distribute leaf bits to the fungus, and even smaller ants called minimae that tend to the fungus.
Snowflake Daringwolf asks Tierney ‘how much can whales weigh?’ in this week’s AJHQ+A.
Have you ever wondered how whales sleep? Since whales breathe air like we do, they need to come to the surface even when they’re sleeping. Whales ‘sleep’ with only half of their brain at a time. One half stays awake to keep the whale breathing and aware of any danger, while the other half rests.
Some whales can live to be 200 years old or more! There may be whales alive that are even older. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to tell how old a whale is while it is still alive. And usually when they die they sink to the ocean floor where it is very difficult for us to study. But there may be whales in the ocean that were alive before electricity was invented. Whoa!
Giraffes are back in Jamaa!! They’ve traveled far and wide and have lots of tales to tell.
There’s only one species of giraffe, and they are only native to Africa. They have different spots depending on which part of the country they live. They are the reticulated, Nubian, Uganda or Baringo, Masai, Angolan, and the southern. All giraffes have two furry little horns called ossicones.
Giraffes drink little water and only eat acacia leaves. They get most of the water they need to survive from the leaves. They’ve adapted this way because when they are drinking they are extremely vulnerable as this is the only time predators can stage an attack. But they’re generally not worth the effort as they have very keen eyesight, can kill with a kick, and their skin is extremely tough to chew making them more work then their worth.