The Saharan Silver Ant looks a mobile piece of living tinsel crawling through the desert. Imagine an undulating silver carpet moving over the sand.
This unique insect is endemic to portions of the Sahara Desert and only leaves its nest once per day, en masse, for about ten minutes. Talk about being a homebody. This practice is a defense against the combination of the extreme heat of their environment and the threat of predators.
Doubtless, you are wondering: Why such an incredibly narrow window of time to hunt for food? Well, the Saharan Silver Ant must wait until the lizards which feed on them in great numbers to flee the heat. However, given the rate at which the temperature rises in the region, this only leaves an average of a ten-minute span before the temperature becomes fatal to the ants.
Saharan Silver Ant Physical Characteristics
You would think that being silver in color is enough of a distinction, right? But not for these guys. The Saharan Silver Ant has also developed several other unique physical characteristics.
For one, their legs are much longer than those of other ant species. This places their exoskeleton further away from the hot sand. Nature is smart.
The Saharan Silver Ant has even developed the behavioral trait of lifting their two front feet clear of the sand when they move at full speed. Avoiding a level 6 case of hot feet.
They have also developed perhaps the most unusual body hair of any creature on earth. The small hairs that cover their body are actually three-sided, not round. This serves to better reflect heat away from the body of the Saharan Silver Ant. It is an extraordinary feat of adaptive evolution.
Saharan Silver Ant Social Organization
The Saharan Silver Ant may be diminutive, but they remain extremely organized. As the heat of the day rises, a few scouts rotate turns at the entrance to their burrows, watching for the departure of the predatory lizards.
The moment the threat goes away, these sentries sound the all-clear, and the entire colony races into action like a silver wave. The entire group navigates by tracking the precise position of the sun, thereby eliminating the loss of precious moments orienting themselves.
Animal carcasses spotted previously by scouts are scavenged with military precision, somewhat like a silver brigade.