Ant larva, an immobile worker

The story of a industrious little baby.


Picture yourself safely hidden in a small chamber in soil, surrounded by your caring family.

[Muffled meadow sounds and underground sounds fade in]

You are an ant larva, and you have nothing more to do than beg for food, and trust your adult sister to deliver it.

Yet even though you are incapable of moving on your own, your small plump larval body has a way to cooperate to receive care…

Hi and welcome to the Insect Insights, chill insect stories to relax and wonder, available wherever podcasts are. If you like this podcast, you can subscribe, leave a review and even an insect question, on spotify or on the website. I am Max, your host, and I hope you are ready to dive into insect knowledge for another insight!

Little ant larva. No legs, no antennae, just a white little round body. And a mouth, one begging to be fed. You are a hungry little one, as eating is all you can do. But you are far from useless, quite the contrary! You will be the workers of tomorrow, and even before that, you are the stomach of the colony. You digest things, and regurgitate it for your sisters.

Sometimes, workers give you a big piece of insect, or a seed, to chew on, masticate down to a paste. This is an important service, and a smart way to spread tasks. Your adult sisters can enjoy the liquid food and quickly be back to whatever they do! Whatever you will do, when you go through your imaginal moult, the final one. When you will get your nice hard cuticule.

For now, you only have a very soft, thin skin, even allowing light to go through. Good thing you never see light, this body is really only made to stay inside, in safety.

But this skin is not naked. It is covered in a forest of little setae, a sort of hair-like structure. Some of them are shaped like little hooks and loops, a very clever design allowing you to attach easily to other larvae! Especially the younger ones, small and light, can be clumped in groups. You see some around, getting carried by the dozen in the mandibles of a bigger sister.

Your sister displaces them in a cosier spot of the chamber, and even hangs the baby bundle on a rough sound wall of your home. Yes, this is a good spot, perfect moisture and temperature for the babies. With their hooky setae, they mock gravity and simple wait on their wall to be fed!

What a nice family you make. Everybody, working together, doing what they can with what they have, and receiving what they need.


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