Jul 31, 2009
It wasn’t until 2004 that the gliding skills of Cephalotes atratus, a species of ant, was first recorded by scientists. Not only can it glide like your average glidy superhero – surely an oxymoron in there somewhere – it is as close as the insect world gets to resembling Darth Vader. The combination of the two makes this some ant (with apologies to EB White).
The ant is almost a centimeter long, which makes it larger than the ones we are used to in our gardens, and it has the sort of appearance that would make many a casual gardener run for the comfort of the house. With its spookily long hind legs it looks scary enough, but the flanged head shield gives it the look of a certain Jedi gone bad. One could almost expect it to hoarsely rasp the odd dark side aphorism. Yet it is probably these features which have evolved over time to enable the ant to glide.