10. Factory Workers: Ants
While some may consider ants a nuisance,
these tiny bugs eat dead insects. Their
underground tunnel aerate soil, making them
a vital part of any ecosystem.
An ant colony
runs like a factory. Each ant has a defined
role and responsibility.
The queen ant's
only role is to reproduce, making her the
mom of all ants born in a colony. She lives
for 15-20 years.
The males who mate with her die shortly
Worker ants feed
and care for the larvae produced by the queen.
They also keep the colony clean, dig new tunnels and
perform other roles.
Foraging ants find and bring food back to the colony.
Some ants act as
security guards and scout locations for
9. The Builders: Beavers
nature’s engineers, these long-toothed
mammals are adept and diligent about
building dams in rivers or streams to create
ponds that suit their lodging needs
Beavers start preparing their winter homes
in late summer or fall.
They use their
tails to prop up tree trunks as they chew
through the wood.
After the tree falls, the beaver chews it
into smaller pieces and carry them back to
the dam's location.
They lay the sticks
in the mud, then stack layers of wood on top
to make the dam.
Then the beaver digs out a lodge (its living quarters
inside the dam.)
The beaver then
stockpiles wood to eat during the long
World’s Largest Beaver Dam Seen on Google Earth
8. The Hunters: Female Lions
These divas of the African desert hunt
mostly at night. By working together to
stalk and kill prey, they prove the success
of “girl power.”
Female lions are the working mothers of the animal kingdom. They
bring dinner to the table and nurture their
Female lions often
"babysit" cubs for other lionesses.
Females do the most of
the hunting for their entire pride of lions.
Without manes to tip off
their prey, female lions can silently stalk their victims within 100 feet before they attack.
7. The Butchers: African Wild Dogs
These dogs plays an important role in
balancing the desert's ecosystem by removing
sick or injured animals.
African wild dogs take the meat no
one else wants.
These hunters work like a relay team.
Some begin running close to to their prey,
while other dogs run behind. When the lead
dogs tire, those in the back of the pack
African wild dogs hunt twice
daily and have a 70%- 90% success rate.
The entire pack --
which is usually 6 to 20 members -- takes
part in raising the pups.
6. Interior Decorators: Bowerbirds
The male bowerbird has an eye for decorating
that might make the most talented interior
designers look like amateurs.
build lavishly decorated nests
to catch a female's eye.
They may also
arrange the pebbles, shells, flowers and
other objects so they appear larger when
viewed from a specific spot. (He includes
himself in this picture!)
competition is steep -- several male bowerbirds
often court the same female. The male
use all the help he can get.
5. The Beauticians: Cleaner Wrasse
Fish living in coral reefs can thank the
cleaner wrasse for helping them live
parasite-free. Like a beautician
exfoliating our skin, the cleaner wrasse
offers a similar scrub-down to fellow
These tiny fish average only 2
-3 inches in length.
They spend all day ridding other
fish of parasites and dead scales. They even
clean the fins, tails and mouths.
Cleaner Wrassee might also clean larger fish
considered a predator. These large fish
choose to give up their snack for a good
It's a win-win
situation: the parasite buffet gives the
cleaner wrasse a full belly, and the reef
fish get clean.
4. Demolition Experts: Termites
Most people consider termites a homeowner's
worst nightmare. But these little
demolishers are critical to a forests’
ecosystems by breaking down cellulose in
wood for plants and animals to eat.
Termites operate within a social system very similar to
that of ants.
Worker termites are white or
may appear transparent. They locate food
resources, excavate the wood, and care for young termites.
Soldier termites have yellow to brown heads
and black mouths and are physically mature.
They protect the colony
from enemies like ants or termites from competing colonies.
termites in a colony are called alates, or swarmers. They are in charge of
starting new colonies.
3. The Farmers: Earthworms
Darwin spent decades studying the slimy
crawlers and once said they played a vital
part in our world’s history.
nature’s farmers who plow the soil they tunnel through..
need 10 - 20
years to turn over the top 6 inches of soil.
tunnels they leave help circulate air and water in
the soil to keep it fresh and nutrient-rich.
Earthworm droppings are also essential.
They are rich in nitrogen, calcium and other
nutrients critical for a healthy ecosystem.
One square yard of soil can contain up to 300 earthworms.
Not all soil
contains earthworms, but their presence usually means healthy dirt.
2. The Parents: Emperor Penguins
People became enamored by emperor penguins
ever since the documentary film “March of
the Penguins” debuted in 2005. It told the
story of the penguins epic voyages every
April, all for the purpose of breeding their
a 50 mile trip (average) from the ocean to a hatching ground, penguins mate.
The mother produces an egg that she passes to the father.
The mother returns
to the sea for food, and dad sits on the egg for around 64 days until it
Once the baby penguin is born, the father keeps it warm and feeds
it nutrients kept in his own esophagus.
When mom returns,
parents exchange duties. Dad returns to
sea for his first meal in over four months.
By December (summer in Antarctica), the pack ice melts, revealing the ocean underneath. This
is perfect for young emperor penguins who
can finally swim and collect food on their own.
1. Corporate Employees: Honey Bees
our crops. Without them, we'd starve. They
multi-million dollar business in the U.S. alone.
Just like any large company,
it takes many roles to help the beehive run
The CEO is the
queen bee. Her job is to reproduce so the
hive continuously has new workers.
Field bees leave the hive to collect necessary
supplies, like nectar. They bring this back to the worker bees.
worker bees are female and create the honey. They
regurgitate the nectar over and over to remove most of the water. This produces
Worker bees warm the hives in winter by
waving their wings to produce heat. In the
summer, they cool it off by waving their
wings and sprinkling water on the honeycomb.
Honeybees have no
vacations or happy hours. They work round
the clock with no overtime pay.