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  1. #1
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    New ant museum at Kasetsart University's faculty of forestry.

    New ant museum offers a lesson in ethics and order in modern life
    APINYA WIPATAYOTIN


    Thailand's first ant museum is now open to visitors who are curious about how the ''super-organism'' can teach humans lessons about life.

    ''An ant's nature is simple but full of order and ethics, which human beings can learn from,'' said Ant Museum curator Decha Wiwatwittaya.

    The museum occupies an 80-square-metre exhibition room on the second floor of Vinijvanandorn Building at Kasetsart University's faculty of forestry.

    Examples of more than 100 ant species, 90% of them indigenous to Thailand, are preserved in the display boxes with posters describing the species' life cycle, role in the ecological system, economic benefits and other interesting details about what has enabled ants to survive for more than 100 million years.

    ''If you expect to see something magnificent here, you will be disappointed,'' said the curator. ''The beauty of this place does not come from lavish presentation, but from a deep knowledge about the life of ants.''

    Mr Decha, a lecturer in the forest biology department, explained that the ant community was full of sacrifice and responsibility. Ants also strictly followed their colony's rules.

    These unique characteristics make the ant community healthy and strong, he said.

    The Ant Museum was established in 2001 and has mainly served as a research unit for the faculty's students and researchers.

    However, to better serve an educational purpose for the public, the faculty decided to renovate the museum and formally opened it yesterday to mark the faculty's 72nd anniversary.

    Privy councillor Amphon Senanarong, who presided over the opening, said unity was a very important trait in the tiny creature from which Thai people can learn a lot.

    ''An ant colony is a super-organism, which has inherited this amazing behaviour from generation to generation for a hundred million years,'' the privy councillor said in a speech entitled Ant Management and Sufficiency Economy.

    ''If Thais perform our duty and hold on to morality as firmly as do the ants, our country will be filled with happiness and development,'' he said.

    Ants not only served as role models for humans, he said, but were a factor in helping farmers achieve success through the sufficiency economy principle.

    The faculty's researchers were studying the use of red ants to control insects in fruit orchards in the eastern provinces to cut the use of expensive and toxic insecticides.

    Red ants were active, fierce and have large populations, Mr Amphon said, adding Vietnamese and Chinese farmers have been using them to control insects in their orchards for a long time.

    Mr Decha said Thailand has about 1,000 types of ants.

    None were facing extinction, he said, thanks to the animals' ability to adapt to a changing environment.

    However, the mod mai yak (Camponotus gigas), which is endemic to southern forests, was under threat due to severe deforestation in the region, said the ant biologist.
    The Ant Museum is open to the public on weekdays, from 9am to 4.30pm. Admission is free.

    Bangkok Post

  2. #2
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    ants are great arent they?

    but not as great as a magnifying glass and a bit of sunshine

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