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“For Real” Arboreal Ants

Pastaza River Amazon Rainforest arial view: Photo 61381397 © Ammit |

Ants that live in trees are called arboreal [are-BOR-ee-uhl], and the spelling makes me think of “are for real.” The ants we’re going to learn about have a scientific name: Allomerus decemarticulatus, but we will call them “For Real” ants.

Their color is light yellow, and they have lots of hair on their bodies. “For Real” ants are about two millimeters long. Get out a ruler and, on the metric side, put your fingernail in the mm space. WOW! That is VERY tiny!

A special tree makes little houses for these ants to live in. The houses are called leaf pockets and look like little balls. There are several pockets in the tree, and over a thousand ants live on one tree.

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“For Real” ants have a special ability that God designed. While they eat things like nectar, they also are able to capture insects that are a whole lot larger than they are. They do it by building a trap in the form of a platform.

Allomerus trap. Photo credit: Dejean Orivel

The trap’s design is amazing! “For Real” ants build a platform on a stem. This platform looks like part of the tree. It is made from tree hairs that the “For Real” ants arrange by spitting up mold that they grow on the tree to use as paste.

“For Real” ants make holes in the platform. These holes are a little wider than the “For Real” ants. They hide in the holes and when a big insect like a grasshopper gets on the platform, “For Real” ants come out of the holes and use their mandibles to bite the big insect. As they do this, “For Real” ants release a chemical odor that lets other “For Real” ants know they need help.

Besides helping the ants get food, the traps protect the tree from predators that would harm the tree.

Just think about what you would have to do to build a trap to catch something that can be 100 times heavier than you. You would have to think and plan. “For Real” ants cannot think and plan. Neither can evolution.

God created “For Real” ants and designed them to do complex things for us to think about. As the Bible says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways and be wise.” (Proverbs 6:6)

Consider the For Real ants and not only will you be wise, you will be blessed.

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Karl Priest

Written by Karl Priest

Karl Priest has over 35 years of experience as an educator mostly as a mathematics teacher. He has worked with students from grades K through 9 including four years as a principal. He is a strong supporter of home and Christian schools. You can see his ministry at

While in the Navy Karl accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior in November of 1968. God led Karl into several different areas of ministry one of which is using his insect collection to proclaim Christ as the creator. You can see Karl’s testimony on the Internet at

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  1. Love your revealing evidences of our great God – Creator of the Universe & all good things therein. A Great BIG WOW! Keep up your great work. brotherly, bj

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