Nature's Place



Nest DesignNest DesignFatal Flaw in Nest DesignCrafty Jumping Ant’s


It never ceases to amaze me the natural intelligence behind the building of nature’s structures.

As it is the basic instinct of all creatures to reproduce it is not surprising it is in the housing of the young where the most obvious intelligence is employed. Have a look at the first picture.

There are a number of features to this structure that make it ingenious. The first is its innocuous appearance, it could be any bundle of natural debris thrown together higgledy piggledy. But it’s not, it’s a very deliberate and intelligent design.

There are at least two bundles of strands holding it to the blade of grass. If one is detached the other is probably strong enough to hold it. A backup system. I’d bet if the second bundle was cut more than half way through it would still hold.

Nearly all the pieces that make it up are pointing out and down from the top so rain will just run off and the larva or pupae inside stays dry.

It is probably made up of the pieces taken from the blade it is hanging from, see how the blade ends on the right just past the point it hangs from? How’s that for economy of effort.

This also has the effect of denying any predators access from the right. And if one landed right on the end it would probably fall off as the blade bends over at the narrow point on the other side of the nest

See how the blade is chewed narrow to the left of the nest. This will also deter any predator big enough to demolish the nest from crossing to the nest from the left.

Have you ever noticed when a large beetle or ant comes to a narrowing of the path it often turns back? And if a large enough insect crossed to the nest its weight might be enough to bend the blade at its narrow point and it would likely fall off.

I don’t think the creature that made this sat down and thought about it. I think it arises within the creature as an intelligent response to a need of that form of life to survive with its particular characteristics in the situation – if it was a desert it might use sand and hang it from a stone, or attach it to a tumble weed and send it on its way, who knows.

And because the response fits this creature so well it can be called its instinctive nature. Its intelligent instinctive nature.

Have a look around you. There is a hundred examples of nature’s ingenuity at arms length unless you live in a box. And even then nature can’t be kept out.

The second picture is of some creatures nest built using available materials to reinforce and disguise. It’s the simplicity of the thing that deceives the thinker into overlooking the obvious intelligence.

Or the White Ant’s skyscraper. A magnificent idea with a fatal flaw. Can you see it? I didn’t say nature makes no mistakes.

Or look at the Jumping Ant’s nest. No uninvited guests here. No predator to the ant is going to cross that carpet of needles very quickly. Predators like mice and rats and other such creatures.

This is the Billinudgel Nature Reserve after all, not Africa.


All copyright reserved / Mark Berkery


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