Showing posts from June, 2021

The Ants and Elephants of Ecosystem Restoration

From inside the dung of a macaque a seed sprouts. It will be carried in the swell of this wild Kalu River till it takes hold along the riverbank and bury its roots deep into the earth, making its mark in rewilding the Earth. A zoochorous seed’s journey Towards the beginning of winter when wild grass is heavy with seed, clumps of discarded seedcoats can be seen at terminals of tiny whitish lines drawn across the forest floor. These small lines belong to a specific ant – the Harvester Ant. In India, ants in the genus Monomorium , Pheidole , and Meranoplus discard parts of seedcoats in heaps – called ant middens – around burrows that lead to their underground nests. Midden of a Harvester Ant ( Monomorium  sp.) in a meadow in northern Western Ghats. Grass seeds are dispersed by wind, eaten up by passerines, and collected by mice. Ants are the lesser-known hoarders – more than handfuls of seedcoats of assorted grasses can be collected from the middens in the peak of the harvest season, j