Sometimes, the key to finding joy is finding others who love what makes you unique. It seems that it’s our differences that often bring us closer together, especially when we each provide what the other needs. This is a recipe for success replicated across species—take these 6-legged friends and their pals, for example!

By caring for fungi, aphids, and caterpillars (to name just a few of their pals), ants get an interesting treat in return that will have you reconsidering what you bring to the table in your own relationships.

It turns out, ants can teach us all a lot about creating strong, mutually beneficial relationships for thousands of years!

Image: ants caring for ant cows (a.k.a. aphids)!

Ant cows!
Source: JerzyGorecki // Pixabay

Did you know that there are creatures called “ant cows”?

These cows aren’t actually ant-sized bovine, as I’m sure you’re picturing in your head but instead, something called aphids: little honeydew-producing jelly bean critters that you may have found clinging to your plants once or twice. Ant cows’ are just a few of the critters that ants have forged a relationship with, trading protection for something yummy in return… from their “cows” butts.

Ants are farmers!

In addition to their cute little cows, ants are fungi farmers, too! They cultivate a fungi that is totally dependent on them for survival. But these fun nature facts go far deeper than this, and touch upon a notion that may sound familiar to you! We all have something to offer the world, and more importantly, a lot of the time, we need someone’s help to unlock our greatest potential.

This fantastic video from Ze Frank gives us a hilarious look into the captivatingly cooperative world of ant mutualism. As always with videos from Ze, this content may not be totally appropriate for all audiences. (Lookin’ at you, kiddos!)

Via: zefrank1 1

Wasn’t that AMAZING?! Ze Frank has such a way of framing up the quirks of nature that makes it so very exciting to learn. If you’d like to see more videos from Ze, head over to his YouTube channel!

Teaming up for mutual success!

Can we take the same tactic that the ants use for survival into our own lives? Could we take the ants’ route to success in our relationships and focus on the relationships that are the most mutually beneficial?

If we nurtured those kinds of two-way relationships, could we foster better, more life-long connections?

What if we did this on a larger scale? In a world with so many complexities, could we take our unique skills and expertise and pair them up to find new paths forward? Perhaps, we need to do what the ants do.

If you’d like to learn about another cool trick that ants can do while working together, make sure you check out this article next!

5 minutes

Fire Ants: The Material of the Future?

Did you know that a colony of fire ants can act as a liquid and a solid? We know, it sounds crazy, these little guys have a lot they can teach us!

Read More

As always, my friend, stay open to new possibilities! You never know what you can learn from how someone else lives—even a different species.

  • Sam

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  1. zefrank1. “True Facts : Ant Mutualism.” YouTube, 17 May 2018, Accessed 3 Dec. 2020.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.