today I experienced a horrible 1.5 hour period where my bird flew outside and I couldn’t find her anywhere. I was clearly distressed and having trouble functioning, but several wonderful strangers helped me, and once we spotted her, a maintenance worker even went and retrieved a tall ladder to help me get her down.
I live in the middle of a big city and had never met any of these people before. I am unlikely to ever meet most of them again.
little moments like this remind me that you don’t have to live in a tight-knit community to get support when you need it, and of the goodness that lies within so many people you pass every day. it’s so easy to forget to be grateful, and easier still to forget to imagine people complexly. to do something kind for a stranger, even something small, is so important, and so lovely.
This is the argentine ant; this species of ant is notorious for organizing themselves in “supercolonies” that stretch over large swathes of land, involving sometimes so many worker-ants as to number them in the billions.
In 2000, an enormous supercolony of Argentine ants was found in Southern Europe covering a
6,004-kilometre (3,731 mi) stretch along the Mediterranean and Atlantic
coasts. Two other such supercolonies have been discovered; alongside the coast of california (stretching 900 km, suggested to involve upwards of 1 trillion ants) and alongside the west coast of Japan (of unknown length but estimated to contain at the very least some 300 millions workers).
In 2009, it was demonstrated that these three large Japanese, Californian and European Argentine ant supercolonies were in fact part of a single global “megacolony”; when mixing individual ants from the Japanese colony and, for example, the south-west European one, the ants, individually as well as collectively, exhibit non-aggressive and even grooming behaviors toward one-another, suggesting they experience and carry out no territorial or otherwise evolutionary rivalry, making researchers conclude that the three colonies studied actually might represent a single global mega-colony.
The researchers stated that “enormous extent of this population is paralleled only by human society”.