is a basic logic to be used in analyzing evidence of the creation
of living beings. We can explain this logic with a simple example.
While walking on barren land, you suddenly find a metal
key on the ground. Imagine that you pick up this key without knowing
what it's good for and you keep on walking. Again imagine that you
come up to an empty house a few hundred metres from where you found
the key. And again imagine that you try the key in the lock of the
house, thinking it might work.
If the key opens the door of this house easily, what
conclusion do you arrive at logically?
It is simple. You conclude that this key belongs to the
door of this house. That is, it has been designed specially to open
this lock. It is obvious that the same craftsman has manufactured
both the lock and the key. Therefore the harmony between them is
the product of a conscious design.
Yet, if somebody says to you, "You're wrong. The key
you found bears no relation to that lock. It is pure coincidence
that that key fits that lock, what do you think?" Of course, you
will find this proposition deficient in logic, because in this world
there are millions of locks and millions of keys that do not fit.
It is obviously impossible for two that fit perfectly, out of millions
of different ones, to be located beside each other coincidentially.
Especially if the said key is quite complex with all
kinds of ins and outs, that is if it is not straight and simple
like a room key. The claim of "coincidence" becomes even more absurd
because, each detail on the key must have its counterpart in the
lock as well, thus decreasing the probability of this coincidence
millions of times.
If there are three locks to the door and you have found
not one but three keys lying beside each other and all three keys
have each opened one of the locks, would you believe an allegation
that these keys are pieces of metal that fit the locks by chance?
Furthermore, would you not think that the person who makes such
a claim either has mental problems or is trying to deceive you and
hide something from you?
The logical result presented by this example is simple but very
significant: If there is a one-to-one fit between two independent
pieces, that is, all details of these two pieces are in perfect
harmony, this proves that there is a deliberate design somewhere.
The key fits the lock because it has been consciously made by a
skilled craftsman. A video cassette goes into a video machine easily
and sits in it perfectly because it has been designed by a purposeful
Looking at all these, the following general solution
may be arrived at. If there is harmony between two living beings
which is realized by the perfect fit of different organs, we can
say that this harmony is clear proof of conscious creation. Since
the existing harmony indicates a consciousness that may not be explained
by chance and since the source of this consciousness may not be
these animals, it is inevitable that we accept the existence of
a conscious Creator Who "designs" these animals.
Now, we can re-enter the world of the ants by using this
fundamental logic. Our subject in this chapter is certain living
beings, who live together and show striking harmony with the ants.
Animals Who Live Together With the Ants
It has been known for over a century
that many species of insects exist which live together with the ants
and that there are symbiotic relations between them. Many of these
do this as ransackers. The others live as dependants for part or all
of their lives in the ant colony. These parasitic visitors of ants
include various insects, such as sacred beetles, ticks, flies and
Some of these may live in the ant nests
and benefit from all social rights. In certain cases, the ants tolerate
them, although they eat the larvae and eggs of their hosts. They
are not only admitted into the nest, but their larvae are fed and
raised as if they were the hosts'.
Well, why do the ants allow such aggression
and how is it that these insects can stay in the nest of an ant
which has had a superior defence system for years? Let us analyze
the phases of this inexplicable phenomenon.
As you know, there is a complex communication
system within the ant colony. Because of this system, the ants may
distinguish members of their colonies from strangers. This distinguishing
ability serves as "a social defence system". However, the visitors
we mention above manage to get into the ant nests by various techniques.
This shows that they have somehow solved the communication and distinguishing
ciphers of the ants. In other words, they have the ability to talk
ant language by mechanical and chemical methods.
There is a typical movement that
an ant makes when it meets another ant. It touches the other ant lightly
with its antenna and checks its pheromones. Then, both ants go on
their way. It is known that they do this to identify each other and
to protect themselves from alien creatures.
Worker ants do the same thing when
they meet insects living in their nests. Sometimes they realize
that the other creature is someone different and throw it out of
the nest. Yet sometimes they treat the other insect as if it were
an ant. This acceptance takes place due to chemical mimicry by the
It has been conclusively
accepted that insects achieve this mimicry totally by chemicals,
because ants have thrown out insects very similar to them physically
when they found them different chemically. Yet certain parasites
that have no resemblance to ants at all have been accepted as if
they were members of the ant nest.44
It is very difficult to explain how such insect species learn to
imitate the chemical characteristics of the ants. Such a thing can
only be explained by these pheromones being added to these insects
by design. An insect could not solve a chemical reaction, even if
it lived for millions of years. Therefore, it must have acquired
such characteristics by the conscious design of the Creator.
Hydrocarbon-Producing Insect and Fire Ants
The scarabaeid beetle, which is
an insect species, and fire ants are able to live together, because
the hydrocarbons they are coated with are identical. It is quite astonishing
that a harmonious relationship exists between these two living beings,
despite the fact that the beetles prey on the ants. Then how can this
harmony be explained?
These beetles are
coated with a series of hydrocarbons identical to those of one of
their fire ant hosts. They also possess a second set of high-molecular-weight
hydrocarbons peculiar to themselves. When their adults are isolated
from the ant hosts, they lose the hydrocarbons they share with their
hosts but retain their own, heavier hydrocarbons. When subsequently
introduced into colonies of a second fire ant host species, this
time they acquire the hydrocarbons of this ant host species.45
When the beetle first
enters the nest of the fire ants, it depends on its heavily armored
exoskeleton and tries to protect itself by pretending that it is
dead. In a few days, after enough hydrocarbons are absorbed by the
beetle, it gains full acceptance into the ant society.46
How can an insect of this species imitate
any odor and secrete it in its own body? How does it know that by
producing this odor it will be able to fool the ants into admitting
it to their nest? Can a bug achieve all this on its own?
Of course not. Getting to know the
ants by their chemical and physical characteristics is just not
something that a bug can do on its own. It would be quite absurd
to say that these bugs have gone through evolution by living with
the ants for a long time and eventually developed the ability to
produce the odor of the ants chemically. No mutation or coincidence
can lead to the development of such a complex characteristic. The
only possible conclusion is the existence of a Creator, Who has
given powers of recognition and mimicry to this bug. The One Who
makes it possible for ants and bugs to exist in harmony together
and Who prevents their acting in a hostile manner towards each other,
is Allah, the Creator of the two animal species.
Visitors of Army Ants
There are mites that live on the bodies of army
ants. One of these mite species feeds on the blood taken from the
terminal membranous lobe of the hind part of the ant they live
on, or the fatty secretions on the bodies of their hosts. Sometimes
these mites live on the tip of the rear leg of the ant and, at times,
they allow their whole bodies to be used by the host ant as a substitute
for the terminal segment of the foot.
As explained before,
army ants form clusters by hooking their tarsal claws over the legs
of other workers when they form temporary nests. In small laboratory
nests, it has been observed that when a worker hooked the leg with
the mite onto the nest or another worker, the hind legs of the mite
usually served in place of the ant's tarsal claws. These mites,
with their holdfast mechanisms such as teeth on their enlarged dorsa,
have been equipped with appropriate posterior formations that adapt
the mites to specific regions of the hosts' bodies.47
It is impossible that these two creatures
who are complementary to each other, have found each other among
thousands of species living in nature only by a lucky chance. The
probability of these two species – which depend on each other for
survival – having met one day, having seen that their bodies were
suitable for co-existence and having decided on symbiosis is zero.
Therefore, this perfect harmony is likewise just another one of
the details showing perfect creation by Allah. Yet these small details
are too valuable to pass by. These examples, of which we may witness
thousands or millions every day, have been created so that man may
see the infinite power, the knowledge and the fine art of Allah.
Smart Fly Larva
The bodies of the ants form a very suitable location
for parasitic beings. Therefore many species of parasites choose as
their homes the bodies of ants. The Strongygaster globula, which is
a type of fly, deserves special mention.
The larvae of this
fly develop as endoparasites inside the gaster of colony-founding
queen. The behaviour of the infected queen is not noticeably affected
apart, except that they cease to lay eggs. When the last-instar
larva of the parasite leaves the body of the host, it quickly pupates
and is groomed and tended by the host ants as if it were a member
of the ants' own brood. Yet, during the flying phase, this friendly
attitude is abandoned and the fly is forced to leave the nest and
the queen ant dies after the parasites leave the nest.48
||In these pictures,
six different parasite species that live on the army ants
are seen. These parasites have settled on the ants in different
(1) The parasite on the top feeds on the body fluids of the
ant on which it inhabits.
(2) The second parasite is a type of mite and lives on the
tip of the foot of its host.
(3) This interesting parasite species deceives the ants and
feeds on their larvae.
(4) This species spends most of its time on the worker ants.
(5) It has chosen the tip of the ant's chin as its home.
(6) This parasite species has settled in the antenna root
of the ant.
The settling of fly larvae on the body of the ant,
and its living on it, is truly an exceptional situation. It is impossible
for a newly born creature to have chosen the body of a queen ant as
a home for itself. The choosing by the mother fly of such a location
to lay her eggs can be possible only if she has a prior and thorough
knowledge of the body and life style of the ant. Because in its own
habitat, there are hundreds of different living species that it may
leave its eggs on. The fly, which is attentive towards its babies,
identifies the most suitable one and for its home, selects the queen
ant. However, it is impossible for her to anticipate that her eggs
will grow here under protection and that the ants will in fact take
care of them. Because a fly is a totally different creature from an
ant and it is impossible for it to know anything about the ant.
Then we can say that this correct decision
made by the fly is not the result of "foreseeing the future" by
this small animal, but a program within it, in other words, a given
inspiration. The One Who places the larva in the most appropriate
living area is Allah, Who is totally sovereign over the fly and
the ant and has infinite knowledge of them, because He is the Creator,
Owner and Sovereign of all living beings.
Secret of Blue Butterflies
In 1979, the large blue butterfly died out from
its last breeding sites in England. Researchers who studied were not
able to find out for a long time why the butterfly disappeared as
there seemed to be plenty of the right habitat (rough grassland),
with lots of the wild thyme plants on which the butterfly lays its
eggs. Actually, the secret was hidden in the amazing life cycle of
the picture on the left we see the large blue butterfly after
leaving the ant nest. The picture on the right shows the blue
butterfly caterpillar before meeting the ants
the picture on the right, the mimicing caterpillar is taken
by the ant to its own nest. The picture on the left shows
the blue butterfly caterpillar living among the larvae in
the ant nest
After the caterpillars hatch, they feed on thyme
for about three weeks. Then they drop to the ground and give out a
liquid that is attractive to red ants. When a red ant appears, the
caterpillar rears up and swells the skin behind its head, tricking
the ant into thinking it is one of its own grubs. The ant carries
the caterpillar back to its nest, and it lives in the nest for almost
a year, feeding on the ant grubs and spending the winter in hibernation.
In spring, it makes a silk cocoon. While inside the cocoon, it slowly
changes into an adult butterfly, before finally leaving the nest in
The discovery of this
parasitism has eliminated the shroud of secrecy over the extinction
of the butterfly species. Due to an ecological change in the region,
the red ants had moved away and the caterpillars that hatched there
were killed by other ant species, which were not fooled by them.49
Now, the questions to be answered are
the following: Could this co-existence have been formed by luck?
How does the butterfly – as a caterpillar, which is not even an
adult butterfly yet – know how to fool an ant? How have the organs
come into being which make it possible for it to look like an ant
when inflating its back? Since evolutionists do not accept conscious
creation, they would argue that these organs have emerged by coincidence.
Yet no coincidence can result in such a perfect likeness. It is
impossible for this similarity to have formed in time in stages,
because a caterpillar which has not yet acquired this likeness would
be hunted down by the ants and would not be able to survive. Since
it is impossible for the caterpillar to give shape to itself consciously,
the only answer is that this animal was given its shape and made
to resemble the ant by a Creating Will, that is, Allah.
Parasites that are Fed from the Mouth of
A type of parasite beetle called
Dinarda, patrols through the peripheral nest chambers, where they
feed on arthropod prey brought in by the host ants. It also taps into
the liquid flow of its hosts. This parasite wanders around the peripheral
chambers of the nest where the newly returning foragers and nest workers
share food. Its tactic is to furtively touch the labium of an ant,
causing the ant to regurgitate a small droplet of food. Actually,
by this feeding method, it places itself in enormous danger, because
once the ant realizes that the parasite is a stranger, it is going
to assume the attack position. Yet the parasite has taken its precautions
against such circumstances. When it sees that the ant is getting ready
to attack, it raises its abdomen and offers the ant the appeasement
secretions at the abdominal tip. The attack ceases as soon as the
ant licks the abdominal tip, and the parasite makes its escape during
this brief interlude.50
Some insect species
(Atemeles) emigrate from the ant nest (Formica) where they have
been raised during the summer, to the nests of another ant genus
(Myrmica). After wintering there, they return to their original
nest to breed in the springtime. There is of course a reason for
these moves: In the Formica nests, the immature stages disappear
during the winter, and consequently social food flow is reduced.
In contrast, the Myrmica colony maintains brood throughout the winter
and high-grade food sources are available for the Atemeles.51
||In the picture on the left, we
see the food exchange between a bug and an ant.
Above, the bug touches the ant with its antennae. In the middle,
the bug taps the ant's mouth with its forelegs.
At the bottom, the ant presents a drop of liquid food to the
The Atameles face a major problem in
finding their way from one host species to another. The Formica
nests normally occur in woodland and the Myrmica nests are found
in grassland around the woods. The Atameles that leave the Formica
nest have discovered a very important method of finding their way:
they orient towards light and reach the relatively open Myrmica
habitat. Yet when they arrive there, another problem awaits them.
They have to distinguish the Myrmica ants from the other species
present and locate their nests. Research has revealed that the migrants
identify the Myrmica nests innately by specific odors.52
In short, these immigrants have the capacity to distinguish between
the odors of ant colonies, apart from their skill in finding their
direction by the aid of light.
These migrants who
change nests twice a year are very interesting, because they are
accepted by both ant species and are able to adapt to the nest environment
immediately. Wasmann, who has been doing research on ants for many
years, believes that this species is the most advanced cohabitant
with its still unsolved adaptation method. They have a very astonishing
feature that they use in getting themselves admitted to the nest
they are migrating to. These migrants have appeasement glands, the
secretions of which are immediately licked up by the ant and suppress
aggressive behaviour. This chemical is so strong that it was observed
that the ants treat the parasite a lot more "gently" when they spurt
this secretion on to their host ants.53
In the drawing above,
an Atemeles bug has itself carried to the
ant nest by way of a special substance
it gives out
Such conscious activities of migrant
bugs set one to thinking. As this bug knows when to move to which
nest, it must know ants in every way. Then how has this migration
adventure started? First of all, it must choose among many species
of insects and decide to cohabit in an ant nest. After making this
tough selection among hundreds of species of insects, it must pick
the one most suitable for it among 8800 ant species and then realize
that the food supply of the selected ants is decreasing during winter.
Then after noticing this, it must discover the nest where food is
abundant in winter. The creature who has to make all these decisions
is an insect such as we will probably never come across in our entire
lives. It is quite illogical to expect an insect to make such decisions.
Still, even if we believe that this system has developed in such
a way, the questions we face do not come to an end. How does this
insect arrive at the nest while moving from one nest to the other?
When it's very difficult to find the way in the forest even for
an intelligent person, how can a migrant insect which is one thousandth
the size of a man contrive to find an ant hill in a huge forest?
The answer, "by orienting toward light"
does not really provide any explanation, because light may be coming
from at least 2-3 different fronts. There are areas many square
metres wide, where it arrives by orienting toward light, before
the nest it seeks may be found. (Let us not forget that for a creature
the size of an insect, an area measured in square metres is the
same as several square kilometres for us). Here, the odor recognition
process starts, but that too is quite astonishing, because it is
very difficult to distinguish a single odor from all the others
in a forest where hundreds of ant colonies live and where also thousands
of different odors other than those of the ants exist. Moreover,
it is interesting that an insect, which spends a whole summer somewhere
else, can keep this odor in its memory.
Lastly, let us think about the following:
even if we pick up this insect and put it in front of the entry
to the suitable ant nest ourselves, it will be very difficult for
it to live in it because, as we know, ants also have very strong
recognition ability. As they do not accept even an ant which does
not belong to their colony, they will of course treat this
insect as hostile and will throw it out of the nest. However, things
do not turn out like this and the insect is treated quite hospitably.
It is argued that this is because of the positive effect of a chemical
which it gives out from its body. Then how does the migrant insect
know that it can influence the ants with this substance and understand
that it can reverse this hostile behaviour? Has it succeeded in
producing the ideal substance by deciding to manufacture it itself?
Of course, it is impossible to answer
these questions positively. There is an obvious picture that one
can see. The said insect is doing things which require serious intelligence
and a sense of judgement. Yet, it would be absurd to think of the
ability to think and to judge in such a creature as does not even
have a brain. We have to admit that the source of intelligence in
the things the insect does is another power "outside" the animal.
Evolutionists have produced the phrase
intuition to overcome this dead end that they are facing, and they
have argued that animal behaviour is the result of certain motives
of unknown source. Yet this phrase is just whitewashing and does
not change anything. The picture is still clear: There are motives
which dominate the animal that are the result of an intelligent
programming. Since there is no intelligent programming by the animal
itself, the source of such motives must be another power ruling
the animal. This power belongs to Him Who is not seen, but rules
over the visible world with supreme wisdom and reflects such knowledge
in living beings, like insects, which are themselves not endowed
Insect that Feigns Death
Ant nests provide a high concentration of food resources,
a refuge from predators and severe climatic change for a beetle genus
that lives in the deserts of the southwestern USA and Mexico. Once
these beetles manage to integrate themselves into an ant society,
they directly go to a brooding room and feed on ant larvae.
These have developed various techniques
to get inside an ant nest. Some species march directly through the
nest entrance, or burrow through thatch piles into the interior.
The beetles are very well protected by their heavily sclerotized
cuticle that the ants are unable to kill them. They can only attack
in unison and throw them out.
never give up. This time they feign death when approached by ants,
so that they are mistaken for prey items and gain access to the
nest. To fool the ants, these bugs expertly feign death by retracting
their antennae and sticking out their legs.54
Once they reach the
egg chambers, the ants for some reason ignore these beetles. Research
has shown that while these bugs are feed on ant brood, trichome
secretions secreted by the beetle distract workers, reduce aggression,
and prevent workers from evacuating brood.55
Also these "intelligent"
beetles leave their own larvae in the ant nest. Their larvae develop
within piles of vegetable matter. Although they lack morphological
adaptations for defense from their hosts, they are ignored by ant
workers and, even if they are attacked by highly excited ants, they
defend themselves against the ants and escape maneuvers.56
Fly Larvae That Know Ants
We are going to see a striking and perfect example
of creation below: the fly larvae that can do mimicry.
The larvae of syrphid
flies (Microdon) overwinter deep within the ant nest and, in spring,
they move to the surface of the nest to pupate. In the course of
research, the larvae were observed to disappear immediately upon
hatching and they were thought to be dead, with a single remaining
larva clinging to the outer surface of an ant cocoon. The magnification
revealed the larva becoming rounder and rounder, as if it were exerting
pressure to distort its shape. Suddenly, it was simply gone. The
larva had inserted its mouth hooks into the silken cocoon and created
a hole large enough to allow it to enter. The disappearing larvae
were simply inside the cocoons, feeding on the ant pupae and molting
into the next larval stage. Microdon larvae, at later stages, folded
themselves lengthwise until they were practically indistinguishable
from ant cocoons. After this transformation, agitated worker ants
arrived, seized the impostor young, and carried them to the safe
depths of the nest.57
This was an unusual case of mimicry.
The ants perceived the fly larvae to be ant cocoons. During research,
it was noticed that the chemistry of the outer, hard cuticle of
the larval flies and that of larval ants matched almost perfectly.
In other words, fly larvae were able to imitate ant cocoons chemically
Chemical analysis confirmed that this
was a case of true chemical mimicry. Then how could the Microdon
larvae employ this mimicry?
On the underside of
the larvae are elaborate protuberances, the function of which was
not known. It is now suspected that they contain glands or glandular
openings for secreting the chemicals that the larvae use to mimic
Then, how can a being who does not
even know the meaning of "chemistry" perform such an impersonation?
And only the larvae of Microdon flies have such a defence system,
never the adults. Since this ability of impersonation is not
known in adult flies, it is not something which can be thought out.
This means that the larvae have this ability from birth.
No coincidence can implant a chemical
order in the body of a larva that will cause it to impersonate ants.
The only conclusion that may be derived from this event is that
the larvae are born into this world already equipped with this feature.
Woodman Ants and Aphids
until now, what you have read about ants has given you a general idea
about the ant world. But this is just the beginning, because there
are many different species in the world of ants equipped with characteristics
we do not know about. One of them is the "milkman ant" which is also
known as the woodman ant.
The woodman ants in question obtain
milk from leaves via aphids. This cooperation between ants and aphids
is one of the most interesting relationships in the whole world
Aphids which are placed
on the leaves by ants feed on the phloem sap of plants. The plant
sap that enters the body of the aphid is converted into the substance
called "honeydew". The ants, which like honeydew, have found a way
for aphids to give this food to them. A hungry ant approaches the
aphid and starts brushing its abdomen with its feelers and antennae.
The aphid likes this very much and emits a droplet of honeydew and
gives it to the ant. In return, the ants look after their aphids
In the autumn, the ants pick up the
aphid eggs and keep them in their nest until they hatch. Later on,
they place the young aphids on the roots of various plants, so that
they suck the sap and provide milk to the milkman ants.
"Animal Breeder" Ants. Ants, in addition
to all their interesting skills, also do "animal breeding".
As seen in these pictures, ants make a "flock" for themselves
from aphids and use this "flock" to obtain food. In return,
they look after their "flock" very well, keeping them by their
side, and protecting them against their enemies. The "animal
breeding" of ants is, no doubt, an interesting example of
symbiosis observed in the world of insects.
At this point the question would be: When there
are thousands of living beings in the world, how do the milkman ants
know of this characteristic of the aphids? How can they select them
from among all the other creatures?
It is, of course, impossible to evaluate
as a chain of accidents the fluid that comes out of the aphid being
exactly what the ant needs and the ant's knowing what the aphid
would like and its patting it against the food it is going to receive.
Once again, there is a designed pairing, a great harmony and therefore
an obvious creation.
Plants that Cohabit With Ants
The East Indian pitcher plant,
Nepenthes Bicalcarata, harbors ant colonies in the hollow stem of
the same pitcher-shaped leaf by which it captures and digests other
kinds of insects. Yet the ants are free to roam over this carnivorous
plant, gathering insects and other food items of their own. The ants
and the plant are engaged in a trade-off of mutual benefit. The ants
risk being eaten by the plant, but they get a home. The plant surrenders
some tissue space and insect prey to the ants and, in return, gains
protection from herbivores.60
On the left we see a pitcher
plant which is a kind of "insect trap". Yet, this pitcher
plant does not serve as a trap for certain insects. For instance,
the ant shown on the right is able to live together with the
pitcher plant. The plant is disregarding the existence of
the ant in an inexplicable fashion.
This example defines the outlines of symbiosis between
plants and ants. The anatomies and physiological structures of the
ants and their host plant have been designed to provide this mutual
relationship between them. Although defenders of evolution say that
these interspecies relationships have gradually grown over millions
of years, it is obvious that any claim that two such creatures as
have no intelligence could agree to arrange a mutually beneficial
system is untenable.
Then what is it that causes the ants
to live on plants?
The tendency of the
ants to live on plants is the result of sugar-producing organs of
the plant called "extrafloral nectaries". When active, nectaries
attract worker ants, who tend to defend them from other insects.
There is some evidence that the plants time their secretions in
a way that enhances the protective role of the nectaries. For instance,
the nectaries of the black cherry tree are most active during the
first three weeks after budbreak. It is certainly not a coincidence
that the same three-week period is the only time that eastern tent
caterpillars which are the major defoliators of the black cherry,
are small enough to be captured and killed by the ants.61
To see how obviously this is evidence
of creation, one needs nothing other than normal common sense. It
is, of course, impossible to accept that the tree has calculated
the period in which it is subject to the most harm and has decided
that the best way to protect itself during this period would be
to attract ants and that, to this end, it has produced a structural
change in its own chemistry. The tree has no brain. Therefore, it
can neither think, calculate, nor adjust its own chemicals. To think
that this rational procedure is a characteristic acquired as a result
of coincidence – which is the logic of evolution – is totally absurd.
In a very obvious way, the tree is doing something which is
the result of intelligence and knowledge.
Therefore, the only conclusion that
may be reached here is that this feature of the tree has been formed
by the will which has created the tree. It is obvious from the arrangements
He has made that He is not only sovereign over the tree but also
over the ants and caterpillars. If research is taken beyond this
point, it is observable that, in fact, He dominates the whole of
nature and has organized each component of nature separately and
in harmony, thus founding the perfect system that we call "ecological
balance". We can advance further and go into the domains of geology
and astronomy. Everywhere we are going to face the same situation,
with countless systems that function in harmony within a perfect
order. These systems all indicate the existence of an organizer.
Yet, none of the entities making up the systems are themselves organizers.
"Is then He Who creates like one who
does not create? Will you not take heed?" (Surat an-Nahl:17)
Then that organizer must be a Will Who is aware of and sovereign
over the whole universe. The Qur'an describes Him as follows:
He is Allah, the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Forms. To Him
belong the Most Beautiful Names: Everything in the heavens and earth
glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surat Al-Hashr:
The Acacia Tree and Ants
Acacia trees grow throughout the tropical and subtropical
regions of the world and are protected by thorns. An ant species that
lives on African acacias gnaws an entry hole in the walls of the thorns
and lives permanently inside the acacia tree. Each colony of ants
inhabits the thorns on one or more trees and feeds on the nectars
of the acacia leaves. These colonies also eat the caterpillars and
other organisms they find on the tree.
The symbiosis between
acacias and ants is perhaps one of the most interesting
in the plant and insect world
The nectar of the acacia trunk
is very rich in oils and proteins. Thomas Belt, who first described
these bodies, noted that their only apparent function was to nourish
the ants. Ants, which live on these trees, obtain sugars from the
nectaries and feed them to their larvae.62
What is it that the tree expects from
the ants in return for its produce?
The worker ants, which
swarm over the surface of the plant, are very aggressive toward
other insects and, indeed, towards animals of all sizes. When their
tree is brushed by an animal, they swarm out and attack at once,
inflicting painfully burning bites. Moreover, other plants sprouting
within as much as a meter of occupied acacias are chewed and mauled,
and their bark is girdled. Twigs and branches of other trees that
touch an occupied acacia are similarly destroyed.63
It has been shown
that acacia trees which have no ants are more vulnerable to attack
by their insect herbivores. In an experiment, it was observed that
alien plants that sprouted within a radius of 40 centimeters of
the occupied acacia trunks were chewed and mauled by the ants until
they died. Ants even attacked other plants whose leaves or branches
touched the canopy of the acacia. Up to one-fourth of the entire
ant population were active on the surfaces of the control plants,
day and night, constantly patrolling and cleaning them. The conclusion
researchers have arrived at is as follows: The ants are "kept by
the acacia as a standing army".64 Since
the awareness which would promote such a negotiation is not within
the capability of either side, it must be accepted that this balance
must have been established by the will of Allah Who created both
parties to the agreement.
In some plant species, there are some plant structures
called "domatia" in biological terminology. These serve no evident
purpose other than to shelter ant colonies. They have holes or thin
windows of tissue through which ants can conveniently enter and
leave. Species with domatia usually also manufacture food bodies,
which are unique structures with no known function other than the
feeding of ants. The only function of "food bodies" is just feeding
of ants. They have no apparent benefit for the plant.65
In short, domatias are very special structures that are formed so
that the ants may maintain their lives. Their temperature and humidity
are ideally balanced to suit the ants' requirements. Ants live comfortably
in these special places prepared just for them, almost as men do
in quality hotels.
On the left, an ant is seen on a plant which is an extremely
suitable shelter for itself. The holes on the ant serve as
"doors" for the ants.
It is not possible to claim that these structures
materialize by luck, that they produce food for ants by coincidence
and that they take on need-based forms.
Ant-plant relationships are just one
of the proofs of the incredible equilibrium created by a sole Creator
on this earth. Furthermore, this relationship is mutual. The services
ants provide against the services of the plants are very important
factors in the plants of the world being so efficient. Ants enrich
the earth in carbon by cultivating it, adding nutrition to it by
their waste and excretion, and keeping the ambient temperature and
humidity at an appropriate level. Therefore, plant species near
ant nests are better off than those in other areas.
Ant Plant and Nitrogen Source Ant
ant species (Philidris) and its host plant (Dischidia major) produce
a very complex set of chemicals all throughout their lives.
This plant has no roots that go underground.
Therefore, it winds along other plants to get support. It has a
very interesting method for increasing its carbon and nitrogen gain.
Ants have a storage
area in this plant where they raise their young and hide organic
residues (dead ants, insect pieces, etc.) called "ant leaf". The
plant uses these residues as a source of nitrogen. Also, the interior
surfaces of the leaf spaces absorb the carbon dioxide given out
by the ant, thus reducing dehydration from the pores.66
Prevention of dehydration is very important for these ant
plants that grow in tropical climates, because they can never reach
the water in the soil, since they have no roots. Thus, ants provide
for two important needs of the plant in return for its providing
shelter for them.
Ants That Feed Their Hosts
Certain ants feed their host plants. Just such a
relationship has been documented in the genera Hydnophytum and Myrmecodia.
The workers of Myrmecodia discard the remains of prey in the cavities
lined with absorptive tissues, while sequestering their own brood
in special chambers lined with tough, nonabsorptive cells. Ants live
in these chambers but make an interesting differentiation between
them. The absorptive surfaces are dotted with small lenticular warts.
Each of the two zones serves a separate function, namely the feeding
of the plant and the housing of the ant brood.
Scientists have carried
out a very interesting test on this subject. Using radioactive tracers,
they demonstrated that this differentiation is indeed the case.
The pseudobulbs absorbed phosphate, sulfate, and methionine from
waste material deposited by the worker ants, as well as various
breakdown products of decomposing Drosophila larvae. Most of the
activity was concentrated in the warted areas. In short, the ants
feed the plants.67
Piper Plant and Brown Ant
The relationship between the piper
plant and the ants is perhaps the most interesting of all these we
have looked at so far. The ant plant called piper (treelets in the
black pepper family) grows in the shade of the tropical forest of
Central America. It is a plant that provides both food and shelter
for brown ants (Pheidole Bicornis). By the time young Piper trees
have just two or three full-sized leaves, one of the leaf bases
- hollow swellings between the branch and the leaf itself – usually
contains a Pheidole queen. The queen colonizes a Piper sapling by
chewing an entrance hole and laying eggs inside the leaf base. When
her eggs first hatch into larvae, she and the young occupy one of
the leaf bases, but as the colony grows, the worker ants advance gradually
throughout the stem pith tissue, and the entire plant becomes a domicile.68
This plant is also
a source of food for the ants. The inside surface of the expanded
leaf bases produces for them single-celled food bodies. Ants pluck
these oil-and protein-rich morsels from the walls and feed them
to their larvae.69
These rich foods that the ants will
perhaps never find elsewhere, are presented to them by the piper.
These ants move towards the pipers that will provide them with the
best care, shelter and food each year and build their nests in the
parts of the plant most suitable for them.
The genus Piper that serves as
a food source has another very interesting feature. In other plant
species, the food bodies grow spontaneously, whereas piper plants
do this only when the plant is occupied by ants. Scientists have noticed
that food-body production declines precipitously when the brown ants
(Pheidoles) are removed, and it commences again when the ants are
What the piper plant does is not a one-sided sacrifice
because, during this mutual living process, the ant also produces
nutritional material for its host.
When the ant lump in the trunk of the
plant decays, it is taken inside the inner soft tissue of the plant
as hydrous ammonia. This fluid is very beneficial for the plant.
It increases its efficiency. As an addition, the breathing ant colony
members increase the carbon dioxide concentration of the plant and
ensure its being healthier.
Some research has been done to understand
if piper ants provide food for their plants and it has been proven
that food-seeking Pheidole ants have brought in certain particles
like spores, weed pieces and moth scales. Ants keep these foods
that they carry in in small sacks in which they keep larvae, and
the plant takes in the required minerals from these foods.
Strategy Expert, Pheidole
Pheidole ants are quite peaceful. They move slowly.
They neither attack, nor bite. Yet these ants use a shrewd strategy
to protect themselves and their hosts, the Piper plants.
Such ants perform
their service by removing the eggs and early developmental stages
of the herbivores instead of facing down the adults. They patrol
new leaves of the plant, which are the most susceptible to insect
damage. Then, in an experiment, termite eggs were placed on Piper
bushes, the ants discovered more than 75 percent and dropped them
off the plants within an hour. Pheidole chew through or push aside
alien vines from their host plants, and also bring nutrients to
the plant cavities as part of their nest material. 71
Another creature who harms the piper is the invader
wheat aphid (Ambates melanobs). The wheat aphid attacks the majority
of plants without ants and kills them by piercing the trunk of the
plant through to the inside. But these micro invaders cannot be very
successful if the plant has ant guards. Ants attack the defenceless
soft built wheat aphid larvae as soon as they start tunnelling into
the inner part of the trunk. Strategist ants who defend the plant,
they live on against all kinds of invasions and also protect the ecological
balance with this feature of theirs.
The plant and ants co-existing in such
harmony cannot be explained by coincidences. The picture we build
up from the information given right throughout this entire chapter
shows us species that are different from each other but who have
been created for full cooperation.
At the beginning of this chapter, we
have given a similar example of such harmony: The relationship between
a key and the lock it opened. There was a single explanation for
the harmony between these two separate objects. The lock and the
key were both made by the same master, that is, they were consciously
designed. In the examples of cooperation we meet in nature, the
same logic applies. The ant and the plant cooperate because they
are the products of conscious design. Neither is the ant dominant
over the plant, nor is the reverse true. Incapable of forming ideas,
they are both simply acting under the inspiration of their Creator,
and thus are able to maintain a reciprocity that allows them to
pursue their lives on earth.
task for people, then, is to see this conscious creation and recognize
its owner. Yet, many do not think about this, nor do they care.
The following verses state in the best way possible this perfect
creation by Allah and the blindness of people towards it:
Mankind! An example has been made, so listen
to it carefully. Those whom you call besides Allah are not even
able to create a single fly, even if they were to join together
to do it. And if a fly steals something from them, they cannot get
it back. How feeble are both the seeker and the sought! They do
not measure Allah with His true measure. Allah is All-Strong, Almighty.
(Surat al-Hajj: 73-74)
44 Bert Hölldobler-Edward
O.Wilson, The Ants, Harvard University Press, 1990, p. 512.
45 Ibid, p. 204.
47 Ibid, p. 486-487.
48 Ibid, p. 489.
49 Ecology, Michael Scott, Oxford University Press, New York, 1995,
50 Bert Hölldobler-Edward O.Wilson, The Ants, Harvard University
Press, 1990, p. 497-498.
51 Ibid, p. 500.
53 Ibid, p. 504.
54 Ibid, p. 507.
56 Ibid, p. 506.
57 Ibid, p. 493.
58 Natural History, 1/94, Gregory Paulson and Roger D.Akre.
59 Bert Hölldobler-Edward O.Wilson, The Ants, Harvard University
Press, 1990, p. 522-523.
60 Ibid, p. 530.
61 Ibid, p. 548.
62 Ibid, p. 531.
63 National Geographic Documentary
64 Bert Hölldobler-Edward O.Wilson, The Ants, Harvard University
Press, 1990, p. 532
65 Ibid, p. 534-535
66 Geo Magazine, October 1995, p. 186
67 Bert Hölldobler-Edward O.Wilson, The Ants, Harvard University
Press, 1990, p. 549
68 Natural History, 10/93, p. 4-8
69 Natural History, 10/93, p. 6
70 Bert Hölldobler-Edward O.Wilson, The Ants, Harvard University
Press, 1990, p. 547
71 Ibid p. 535