You have to admire their pioneering spirit. This particular species of ant was accidentally introduced from South America in the 1930s through a port in Alabama, and has since spread across all the southern states. Their successful colonisation is due in part to exceptional resourcefulness and teamwork. When their nests are threatened by rain, instead of fleeing or curling up in defeat, the ants march forth into the face of the enemy. They form a large mass around the queen, creating a living raft that floats until it bumps into a tree or clump of grasses to hang onto. The ants constantly rotate positions so that none stay under water too long. Even though some die, enough survive so that once the waters go down, they can return to the nest or build a new one.
At the time, I thought they were clamoring for a spot on the roof of their home, jostling and climbing over one another to ensure their own survival as we humans surely would do. An unsuspecting caterpillar drifted into the mass, where it was promptly tossed into the moshpit, I fear never to be returned. I was so fascinated by this spectacle that Emma grew quite impatient with me: "Come ON Mama, let's go. There more ants up here!"