When it comes to ants, they are probably considered one of the most common creatures that you will ever come to know.  You see them almost anywhere; between the cracks in the sidewalk, in the grass, on trees, climbing up your leg, and even inside your house.  It is amazing where these little beasties can live.


The environment plays a big role in where organisms choose to live.  Some fair better in warmer temperatures and others fair better in colder temperatures, but the temperature is not the only thing that dictates an environment.  Humidity, predators, prey, vegetation, soil, and the amount of water all affect what makes up an environment.  However, environments do not choose what organisms live there, rather it is how the organisms adapt to these environments and how they change that allows them to reside in an environment.

As talked about on the Habitat page, Cataglyphis bombycina lives in the Sahara desert.  This desert is not considered to be a very forgiving place.  With its lack of water and scorching temperatures, very few animals choose to live here, however, C. bombycina has found many ways to adapt.  Like other living organisms, these ants make something called heat shock proteins.  These proteins protect your body from heat damage and prevent you from succumbing to heat shock for a limited time, but it is enough to make a difference (Holden 1995).  You may be wondering that if all living organisms have these proteins, why is it that only C. bombycina can still survive these temperatures?  This is because the ants can control when to use them.  Before the ants leave the nest, they simulate heat shock which allows these proteins to become active and protect them in the heat of the moment (Holden 1995).  The way they use these heat shock proteins allows C. bombycina to withstand temperatures up 54.4 degrees Celsius, or 129.9 degrees Fahrenheit (Marsh, Wehner, and Wehner 1992).  Not only does C. bombycina use their heat shock proteins to their advantage, but they will use their surroundings, as well.  Since the hottest place in this desert is the surface of the sand, these ants have learned that the air a couple of inches off the ground is much cooler and decide to climb up vegetation to escape some of the heat (Myers 2013).

Escaping Predation

It is safe to say that all ants face some sort of predation.  Many of these ants developed a kind of defense, while others developed a way to escape.  C. bombycina seemed to have taken a different route, these ants have gained some sort of intelligence from their adaptation.  They use the heat shock proteins, which they produce to protect them from the heat, as a double advantage.  C. bombycina knows what time of day and at what temperature their predators will seek shelter.  They will also send out scouts to search the area to make sure there are no predators before the rest of the nest leaves in search of food (Myers 2013).  They have adapted to make the most out of what they have and how to use communication to ensure survival.

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