That was the question I asked myself recently when watching an ant crawl steadily around in my bathtub, carrying around one of his dead brothers. This time of year, when it starts to rain in California, no matter what precautions we take, we get invaded by ants whose natural habitat has become too wet for their liking. I hate ants. With a passion. Anyway, as I watched the abhorrent insect cross my shiny white bathtub, it suddenly occurred to me that ants must have muscles. I’ve never thought about this before. I’m not sure why, but in my mind, they seem more likely to be made of wire or plastic and I must only associate muscles with fleshy things. When I asked my partner what she thought about ant muscles, she just shrugged, and said, “Well, they must have muscles. I think I’ve seen a diagram of an ant that showed muscles. You know, they are very strong insects and can carry many times their weight.” She used to be a school teacher, so she can’t help herself from answering my ridiculous random questions as though they are perfectly natural.
Well, I did know they could carry many times their body weight, but I still didn’t think of them having muscles. I decided to Google it to see what more I could find out. There are a surprising number of relevant links that come up when you google ‘do ants have muscles.’ I particularly enjoyed this page, with a few interesting “Ant Factoids.” My favorite was the answer to the question, “How do ants communicate?” Answer:
They release pheromones with specific messages, such as “Follow me to food!” or “Attack the intruder!”
Seems like a pretty nice simple life, doesn’t it? Until you release pheromones that tell your buddies to invade my house when it’s wet outside, anyway. Do that, and I cannot make any promises that your life will remain simple.