Humans or ants?

Urban Human/Ants
  • By Boliston
  • Urban Human/Ants

According to this story, in the way human behaviour is radically transformed by the urban condition or exposure, the behaviour of odorous house ants also goes through major changes when relocated from the rural (a park, a forest) to the urban.
The first systematic lifestyle survey of odorous house ants confirms how much a modest country dweller can change habits in the big city, according to urban entomologist Grzegorz Buczkowski of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Support The Stranger

In the forests of Tippecanoe County, Ind., he found odorous house ants, Tapinoma sessile, in colonies with just one queen each. With no more than a hundred ants, each colony could live in a single acorn.

Ants from city parks and other seminatural areas formed somewhat bigger colonies, he says. But in West Lafayette and other urban zones nearby, Buczkowski found that nests of odorous house ants connect via bustling ant trails to form supercolonies. Each of the 15 colonies he sampled typically held some 58,000 ants and 238 queens, he reports online February 26 in Biological Invasions. One supercolony across the street from Buczkowski’s office covered more than a city block and held 6 million workers and thousands of queens.

The human urban is not isolated or specific to humans; it can trigger urban behaviour in another species. What this means is the urban is its own nature. Meaning, it's not just a human opening, but an opening in and of itself. The urban is prior to humans. It's a potential rather than an invention. And a potential is always an opening (or a clearing).