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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Animal Note

Air Date: Week of August 31, 2001

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file

The 20th Anniversary of the United Nations' World Food Day highlights the need for continued work in the fight against world hunger. Author Richard Manning and Robert Mwanga, a research scientist from Uganda, join host Steve Curwood to discuss the latest developments in biotechnology and how they will play a key role in the fight against global hunger.

Transcript

Just ahead out of work elephants strike up the band. Stay tuned to Living on Earth. First, this animal update with Maggie Villiger.

(Music up and under)

VILLIGER: What's an ant to do when its nest is threatened by flood? If you're a Cataulacus muticus ant living in Malaysia, you'd better have a contingency plan, because you make your home in the hollow nodes of giant bamboo plants deep in the rainforest. These ants build only one colony in a lifetime, so holding back the frequent deluges is a matter of life and death. Plan A: Batten down the hatches by blocking the doorway with your head. If this collective sandbag technique doesn't hold back the waters, move on to Plan B: Start drinking. Hundreds of ants fill up on the unwanted water seeping in their colony and head outside to excrete it away from the nest. Scientists dub this behavior "communal peeing." The ants keep at it in a kind of reverse bucket brigade until the waters recede and their home is dry. That's this week's animal update. I'm Maggie Villiger.

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

(Music up and under: B. Hall "Terra Zona")

 

 

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