Insects are the best superheroes, by Caroline Airson, August 2015
In response to Marvel: “Ant-man is the smallest superhero.”
One of the taglines for Marvel’s new film Ant-man is ‘the smallest superhero.’ I mean firstly, they are wrong, but before I start that tirade let’s look at why they are pretty close:
Certain species of ant can carry weights of more than 100 times their own body weight (wow), whilst upside down (ok that’s pretty impressive) on a slippery glass surface (damn boy!). Ladies and gents, that’s akin to myself holding a 60-tonne super-lorry fully-loaded whilst upside down on the glass pyramid of the Louvre. The jaws of ants have been recorded to shut at speeds of 140 mph, exerting forces 300 times their own weight. With that super jaw, they can fill not one stomach, but two; what is known as the social stomach, i.e. they fill it up for a friend in need. Other amazing feats include surviving 24 hours under water, and having self-cleaning feet. What more could you want?
Other amazing feats include surviving 24 hours under water, and having self-cleaning feet. What more could you want?
Enter the water flea, a microscopic super hero, measuring only about 0.2 to 3.0millimetres, compared to the ant’s average 4mm (although some are just 1mm), and technically more related to a crab than an insect. This tiny ninja can change its size dependent on foe faced; big foe coming they shrink even further to evade detection. A small foe comes sniffing around, well they are in trouble, the water flea grows horns, tail and neck spikes and becomes their worst nightmare.
So you’re not convinced, but I’ve always thought the definition of a super hero is someone who has incredible talents and is dedicated to protecting the public. Now morally, ants aren’t so great, they force lower members of society to form death rafts and float down rivers supporting the higher class, like members of a fox hunt using the working class instead of horses should times get rough; they use different species of their fellow ant kind as slaves, taking over their colonies, stealing their food and making them work till they starve to death. None too moral.
If the water flea doesn’t pack the punch and ants have ulterior motives, do we have a tiny critter to fill this particular niche?
All hail the Honey Bee, plus it’s already got a super hero name…..nobody expects the HONEY BEEEEE!
All hail the Honey Bee. It’s already got a super hero name…..nobody expects the HONEY BEEEEE!
Oh ants, you were so close to being the most badass, but bees can carry 122 times their own weight and fly for forty miles on just one belly of honey. Compared to the most fuel efficient car, that’s nearly 5 million miles to the gallon. They can read electricity at a quantum level, so they can predict the weather, and produce their own strong negative charge to magnetically attract what they want (that’s Magneto and Storm combined). If you want to get Charles Xavier involved in this, bees have the most grey matter (i.e. brain power) for their size of any animal, if they were our size we would almost definitely be their slaves. Luckily they are tiny and morally speaking they are exemplary, bee venom can combat tumours, treat depression, dementia and possibly HIV. (When they sting, it’s because they care!) As they have language, they vote in decisions, so they have democracy. I mean yes, they head-butt those who disagree with them, but wouldn’t we all if we could get away with it? In case you are thinking they haven’t got any weapons in their arsenal, they heat their enemies to death. Enough said.
Oh and by the way Marvel – what you are portraying is a lady ant. Male ants don’t do any work, they fly, can’t lift stuff, live for only a few days, mate with the queen, and die. That tough ant stuff? That’s all-female, bro’.