In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Ants' Kingdom

[6:38] All the creatures on earth, and all the birds that fly with wings, are communities like you. We did not leave anything out of this book.** To their Lord, all these creatures will be summoned.

Of all the myriad of animal systems that God has set up on earth, certainly ants are among the most amazing. There are about 10,000 species of ants, and they live essentially everywhere on earth. They have been around for 100 million years or so, with fossil ants nearly identical to ants of today. Most species live in highly organized colonies with a queen, a few males for mating and many female workers.

In starting new colony, an amazing string of instinctive behavior occurs. The Queen flies out, is mated (like the honeybee, the males fall dead), and finds a new place. She makes a shallow nest and dismantle her wings. She uses the wings as food and also absorbs the flight muscles in her body as nutrition. That may support her for a year with no other food. Unlike the queen bee who is accompanied to a new place by many workers, the queen ant goes all alone and must provide for herself until new workers hatch.

She lays egg-100 an hour, 30,000 in a week. After about 20 days, the eggs turn into wormlike larvae, which the queen washes and feeds. After another 20 days or so, the ants are ready to face the world. They instinctively know the role they are to play. The first ones out are always worker/gatherers. They go out and get food to bring back to the nest for the queen. Her job now is only to lay eggs.

There is a specific division of labor among the ants. Unlike the bees, that progress from one job to another, the ant is born into the job it will perform for life. The nurses are meticulous in caring for the young, They make sure dirt does not get into body segments, constantly licking the eggs and larvae.

They carry them gently to the proper place within the colony for each stage of development.-the right amount of moisture, warmth, etc. They move them to upper chambers for warmth during the day and lower chamber at night.

If it is raining outside, the nurses will dash around carrying their charges lower and lower where the rain might not penetrate. Worker ants concentrate on enlarging the nest, digging new chambers underground, making repairs where needed. They also keep the colony clean, removing dirt and debris and the dead. Soldiers are equipped with larger heads, a hard armorlike covering and larger and stronger jaws. They will attack insects, both for protection and for food. gatherers get the food. They can carry up to 50 times their weight. Or they may go as far as away as 600 feet and return with a single seed to store deep in the nest for the future- similar to a man walking 6 miles to the store and back for a loaf of bread.

Ant colonies depend on the female of the species for their creation and their continued existence. The queen and all the workers are female. Interestingly, scripture clearly indicates the female gender of workers ants-a fact that could not have been known when the Quran was revealed and certainly not when the Old Testament was written.

Yet Proverbs chapter 6, verses 6 through 8 says :Go to the ant, O sluggard, study her ways and learn the wisdom; for though she has no chief, commander or ruler, she procures her food in the summer, stores up her provisions in the harvest. And in the Quran, sura 27, entitles "The Ant" there is the charming story of Solomon's troops verses 18 and 19:

[27:18-19] When they approached the valley of the ants, one ant said, "O you ants, go into your homes, lest you get crushed by Solomon and his soldiers, without perceiving."He smiled and laughed at her statement,* and said, "My Lord, direct me to be appreciative of the blessings You have bestowed upon me and my parents, and to do the righteous works that please You. Admit me by Your mercy into the company of Your righteous servants."

Both references are pointedly feminine, again something that would not have been known at this time.God has provided some amazing ways of life among the many species of ants. There are ants which steal eggs from other ant colonies and raise them as slaves. There are army ants which are constantly moving and hunting down insects. There are ants which keep herds of aphids and actually milk them, enjoying the substance the aphids produce from flowers.

There are ants which work in teams to sew leaves together to use in building their nests. And there are "parasol" ants which carry large leaf segments over their heads like umbrellas back to the nest,, where they partially chew them, then use them as mulch to grow mushrooms-their food of choice.

[55:10,13] He created the earth for all creatures... Which of your Lord's marvels can you deny ?