I thought I was through with Ant Analogies for a while, but couldn't resist this axiom from the Antipodes -
Australia has more ant species than the entire northern hemisphere.
An international study of 1003 ant assemblages on five continents (hey - celebrate scientists cooperating!) suggests that this is due to the equable temperatures of the lower latitudes, whilst climate changes 53-54 million years ago, amongst other factors, dramatically reduced northern ant diversity.
150 years ago Darwin postulated that the greater diversity of life forms in the southern hemisphere was related to a more equable climate. Ants also thrive in drier climate conditions, so my Australian friends might be comforted to know that, as the Continent runs out of water, at least Australian ants will be O.K.
Could Bill Bailey's "Insect Nation" be proleptically prescient?
(1) Darwin said nothing about more diverse and adaptable cricketers in the southern hemisphere but they seem to have exploited that niche as well.
(2) Future Earth is the 873rd blog to join the (bird heavy!) Nature Blog Network & is listed under the "Ecosystem" category. Be the first to visit & start Arjay's stats ticking. Please Let me know of any interesting blogs you find amongst the 872 others.
(3) Thanks again to Alex Wild for the Australian ant pic (Nothomyrmecia macrops).