Learning from the ants


I’ve always been fascinated by termite mounds as an example of emergent behavior – but as far as I can tell (mainly by the millions of little black ants swarming all over it), this is a true ant mound, not a termite mound.  I took this picture in Tamil Nadu, not too far outside of Tiruchirappali, in the far south of India.

An unresolved mystery I want to clear up one of these days: when I talk to the village locals, they invariably refer to these structures as “snake houses” and not “termite houses.”  I think we both agree snakes live here – but I’ve never really understood if the villagers know these structures are created by insects, not reptiles.

If anyone has any links to the termites and ants of southern India, please do share them with me!  I’ve seen some very exotic architectures, and I’ll post more pictures as time permits.