2 Corinthians 8:21
“Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”
Many plants give ants special protection and, in return, the ants protect these plants from other insects. In itself, this widespread arrangement offers evidence of design. However, sometimes these arrangements are even more complex than they at first appear.
A small tree that grows in the central Amazon of Brazil, called the Hirtella, offers small ants shelter in tiny pouches that form in pairs at the base of young leaves. Scientists prevented the ants from reaching some of the branches of a tree and noted that those branches lost about half of their new foliage to other insects. It appeared that the ants were keeping other pests off the new growth in return for shelter. However, scientists also found that the branches that had no ants also had eight times as many flowers as those branches the ants could reach. Apparently, the ants do a good job at protecting new growth, but once flowers begin to form the ants become the pests. The Hirtella doesn’t ignore this. Once the new foliage is established and it is time to flower, the leaves drop the ant shelters so that the ants have to find somewhere else to call home.
This elegant defense arrangement is clear testimony not only to God’s design, but also His provision for a complex creation with a vast array of creatures.
Notes: Science News, 11/2/02, p. 285, “Ant cheats plant; plant cheats back.”
Photo: Courtesy of Vojtěch Zavadil. Licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2.
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