After a visit to the Singapore Ants Exhibition, you may never be able to look at the ants crawling around your home in the same way.
Meet Zat Low, Singapore’s Ant Man
The exhibition is the brainchild of Zat Low, whose love for ants first started three years ago. According to Zat, what fascinates him about ants are the special traits and behaviour of different species.
To him, ants are not dissimilar to humans. Individual ants have their own personalities; however, they also function collectively for the social good of the colony – whether it be gathering food or defending the nest.
In short, the ant colony is a microcosm of society and each ant species has its own characteristic and strategies for survival.
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Enter the World of Ants
There are 22 varieties of ants on display at the Singapore Ants Exhibition. All of these species, which include carpenter ants, weaver ants and the dreaded fire ants, are native to Singapore.
As Zat brings us around the exhibition, we begin to understand what he means by different ants having different traits and even strategies.
For example, some species of ants are timid and run away when confronted with danger. Others are aggressive and would not think twice about attacking an aggressor.
This fact is brought how as we watched as some ants swarmed around a live mealworm. Together, the ants work together to subdue the mealworm even though it was much larger than any a single individual.
Teamwork wins the day.
There are also plenty of interesting facts that can be picked up at the Singapore Ants Exhibition.
For example, did you know there are ants with eyespots on their gasters (the enlarged part of the abdomen). This is a form of mimicry in nature used to by the ant to scare off predators.
The amazing trapjaw ant can not only open its mandibles up to 180 degrees but also snap them shut at such speed that it can catapult itself away from danger at lightning speed.
There are even the species called black crazy ants that can clone themselves. The Queen only takes on her mother’s genes, making herself an exact copy of her mother.
Other ant exhibits show the different life stages of an ant, with neat compartments set aside for eggs and larvae.
In fact, ants are highly organised. So much so that they even keep a separate spot for their garbage, set away from the rest of their living quarters.
The Wonder of Little Things
Many of the visitors to the Singapore Ants Exhibition are families with children. The kids seemed happy to stare intently at the ants in their formicariums, as man-made ants nests are known.
When asked why he thought so many children were drawn to ants, Zat shared that kids are curious about “where do they live and what they do?”
While ants are common insects, they are also mysterious because few get a chance to see the goings-on inside an ant’s nest.
A visit to the Singapore Ants Exhibition will leave you with a deeper appreciation of the complex and social world of ants. It also goes to show that just because ants are small, they are neither insignificant nor unintelligent.
“Ants taught me a lot of things that helped me,” shared Zat. “I want to let people know there’s beauty everywhere; I want to express this beauty.”
Singapore Ants Exhibition
Where: 143 East Coast Road, PeopleUp@Katong, Singapore 428833
Till 28 August 2019. Extended till 31 December 2019.
Opening Times: 6 pm to 10pm (Weekdays), 8 am to 11 pm (Sat & Sun, Public Holidays)
Admission: $11 per ticket, available online or at the door