NEWS FROM THE FRONT PORCH: God cares about the small stuff

  • Thursday, September 12, 2013

Did you know that ants can talk? In Costa Rica’s tropical forests there are ants who live inside young piper trees, hollowing out parts of the tree for themselves. Scientists have found that the ants talk to the tree similar to the way we drive up to a fast-food restaurant and talk to the boxes to place our orders. These ants communicate with the tree using a code to stimulate the tree to produce fats and proteins that creates the recipe of food they desire. This doesn’t hurt the tree. In return for room and board, the ants trim away vines, which might otherwise strangle the tree and protect the tree from other insects that would feed on it. The tree and the ants both benefit from this relationship.

Even though scientists have not been able to figure out the code used by ants to stimulate the tree to produce their food, a newly discovered species of beetle has. This beetle has been seen to evict the ants from a tree and then mimic their code so that the tree produces food for the beetle. This beetle is bad news for the tree though, because it does not trim away vines or protect the tree from other pests.

These beetles do not talk to the ants, they just steal their code and talk to the tree. However, researchers have discovered that there is a caterpillar that talks to ants. Several species of caterpillars of two butterfly groups secrete a sweet liquid that ants like. In return, the ants protect the caterpillar from its enemies while they collect their sweet treat. These caterpillars actually call the ants when the liquid is ready, using a variety of sounds. These calls range from a simple “bub … bub” to more complex sounds, such as, “beep ah ah ah beep.”

Another type of caterpillar calls ants when it needs help. This species does a remarkable job of mimicking the ants’ sounds. Very young members of this caterpillar species frequently fall off the leaves on which they are grazing. When they do, they make ant noises until found by foraging ants. The caterpillar’s “ant talk” apparently convinces the ants it is one of them. So they return it to their nest and place it in their nursery. There the caterpillar eats some of the young ants. The ants eventually figure out their mistake and kill the caterpillar.

These amazing pictures from creation come to us courtesy of our creator and are so sophisticated that researchers have just now discovered this incredible interaction between these tiny creatures. The creation all around us is extremely intricate, intelligent and alive.

Obviously, God cares very much about tiny details, including the details of our lives. He invites us to talk to him about them.

“No one can see God, but Jesus Christ is exactly like him. He ranks higher than everything that has been made. Through his power all things were made – things in heaven and on earth, things seen and unseen, all powers, authorities, lords, and rulers. All things were made through Christ and for Christ. He was there before anything was made, and all things continue because of him.” Colossians 1: 15-17 NCV

Dianne Brady is an author and speaker and can be reached at gracekeeper@comcast.net.

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