Meet the “Take Your Pants Off” Ant

Heres a program from our archives.ambience, Dawn Chorus in the RainforestTropical rainforests are home to an incredible variety of creatures, and for humans to spend any time here in relative comfort, life in the rainforest means keeping a watchful eye out for your fellow inhabitants. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Thomas: When I go in the forest, I don’t worry about snakes. I see snakes sometimes but not very often. I worry about ants because there are so many of them. This is something that, every fifteen minutes to half an hour, you have to consider where you’re standing in relationship to ants, or what tree you touch in relationship to ants. There’re so many plants which have ants living in and on them.Wayt Thomas is an assistant curator at the New York Botanical Garden.Thomas: It’s not the giant red ants that you might worry about, but some of the tiniest ones can cause you the most problem and distress. There’s one kind of ant that in Portuguese is called, tirar as calas which means basically, take your pants off. This is a very small ant that will climb up your legs and somehow they know when to start biting. They don’t bite as soon as they get to your ankles, but they wait until they get up to your thighs, and then they all seem to start at once. Then you start hopping around and eventually you’ve got to deal with it somehow. The other extreme would be, what’s known in Spanish as the Vienti Quatro, or 24 Ant. This is to explain the number of hours you’re going to hurt when it stings and bites you. This is a solitary ant which is an inch and a half long that bites with its jaws and stings you at the same time. It hurts like a very bad bee sting, and then it gets worse for the next hour or so.So as mankind continues to search for a meaningful relationship with nature, finding one’s place in the rainforest ecosystem may sometimes mean just staying out of harms way.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.

Meet the "Take Your Pants Off" Ant

Living comfortably in the rainforest sometimes means just staying out of harm's way.
Air Date:11/01/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Heres a program from our archives.ambience, Dawn Chorus in the RainforestTropical rainforests are home to an incredible variety of creatures, and for humans to spend any time here in relative comfort, life in the rainforest means keeping a watchful eye out for your fellow inhabitants. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Thomas: When I go in the forest, I don't worry about snakes. I see snakes sometimes but not very often. I worry about ants because there are so many of them. This is something that, every fifteen minutes to half an hour, you have to consider where you're standing in relationship to ants, or what tree you touch in relationship to ants. There're so many plants which have ants living in and on them.Wayt Thomas is an assistant curator at the New York Botanical Garden.Thomas: It's not the giant red ants that you might worry about, but some of the tiniest ones can cause you the most problem and distress. There's one kind of ant that in Portuguese is called, tirar as calas which means basically, take your pants off. This is a very small ant that will climb up your legs and somehow they know when to start biting. They don't bite as soon as they get to your ankles, but they wait until they get up to your thighs, and then they all seem to start at once. Then you start hopping around and eventually you've got to deal with it somehow. The other extreme would be, what's known in Spanish as the Vienti Quatro, or 24 Ant. This is to explain the number of hours you're going to hurt when it stings and bites you. This is a solitary ant which is an inch and a half long that bites with its jaws and stings you at the same time. It hurts like a very bad bee sting, and then it gets worse for the next hour or so.So as mankind continues to search for a meaningful relationship with nature, finding one's place in the rainforest ecosystem may sometimes mean just staying out of harms way.This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.