Tag Archives: Telegraph

Why Do Ants Work 24/7?

You think they are working 24 hours a day because you see them working at every wakeful hour. And all the workers look the same. But no one knows whether ants “sleep”. They don’t have eyelids, so they can’t close their eyes. But they do have periods of rest, where the brain and biological functions slow down and they stop moving. Though not well documented and possibly varying from species to species, it is generally accepted that most ants have periods of dormancy akin to sleep.

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As workers, ants have to respond to the colony needs. Ants seen foraging for food work from sunrise to sunset. Others inside the colony do other chores like tending to the queen and raising the larvae. The whole colony does not ‘sleep’ at the same time. They have “shifts” — one ant takes up the responsibilities, relieving another which can then tend to its own needs like sleep and feeding itself. Once inside for the night, ants reduce their activities. They fall in a sleep-like idleness with reduced biological functions. Each ant rests (a way of preserving resources) when necessary and “wakes up” when the colony needs it again, but the ants need time to get to normal functioning, resulting in a sluggish movement.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Why is a Dog’s Nose Black and Wet?

 

Most dogs have black noses, not all. The noses of Vizslas and Weimaraners, for example, are closer to their coat colours. And it’s not unusual for puppies to start out with pink noses that darken as they mature.

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In all likelihood, dogs have developed black noses as a protection against sunburn. While the rest of the animal’s body is protected by fur, the noses are exposed to the sun’s rays. Pink-nosed dogs and breeds that are hairless or have very thin hair on their ears need to be protected with sunscreen when they go outdoors, or they risk the same sort of cancers and burns that humans do.

The canine nose — or nasal planum — is normally cool and moist, but not always wet. It has no sweat glands. The mucus lining causes the moisture. The evaporation of moisture from the nose helps to cool the dog. This moisture also makes the dog more sensitive to odours. Generally a happy dog continually licks his nose. When the dog isn’t feeling well, he tends not to lick his nose. And this makes the nose dry. But this is not a direct correlation. The brachycephalic breeds (bulldogs, Bostons, pugs, etc.) have noses set so high on their muzzles that they can’t reach them with their tongues and thus the noses tend to become cracked and dry on the top.

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)