Forget lions, tigers, and bears. When it comes to the art of war, army ants are among the most frightening creatures on earth. With powerful mouth parts, these fighters can skillfully cut creatures much larger than themselves into pieces. Acting together in great number, army ant colonies succeed at making tens of thousands of such kills each day. Their capabilities do have limits, though. Contrary to popular belief, they almost never take down large animals or people
One of the best places to observe army ants is Barro Colorado, an island in a lake created by Panama Canal. The island is home to as many as 50 colonies of Ecilon burchelli, the most studied army ant in the world. It is one of 150 types of army ants in the New World;more 170 other types live in Asia, Africa, and Australia.
The colonies of this army ant are huge, ranging from 300.000 to 700.000 ants. They never stay in one place long, moving from nest site. Linking legs together, they use their own bodies to form enormous nests called bivouacs, which they hang beneath a fallen tree. There they stay about 20 days as the queen lays as many as 300.000 eggs.
When the ants go hunting as many as 200.000 of them leave the nest in a group that broadens into a fan as wide as 14 meters. This swarm raid takes a slightly different course each day, allowing the hunter to cover fresh ground each time.
Protecting the ants wherever they go are soldiers, recognizable by their oversized jaws. If their frightening looks do not scare enemies away, soldiers also have a powerful bite and the attack is often suicidal. Because their jaws are shaped like fishhooks, the soldiers cannot pull them out again. Amazonian tribes have used soldier ants to close wounds, breaking off the bodies and leaving the head in place.
Eciton burchelli are blind and cannot see what is a head of them, but they move together in such great numbers that they can easily kill the non army ants insect and other small creatures that constitute their prey. When the groups happen upon a break in the path, ants immediately link legs together and form living bridges so that the groups can move forwards without any delay.
In Japanese the word ant is written by linking two character: one meaning "insect", the other meaning "loyalty". Indeed, individual ants are completely loyal to their fellow ants. They display many examples of selfiess cooperation that, while certainty extreme, cannot fail to win human admiration.
(Adapted from www.nationalgeographic.com. Accessed February 12, 2014)
The author's purpose of writing the text is to ...
inform the readers about how army ants set up their life
demonstrate the strength of army ants compared to lions, tigers, and bears
analyze how soldier ants protect their colonies
make the readers aware of the use of army ants
refute a common misconception about army ants
Teks secara garis besar membahas mengenai pasukan semut, ciri khas, dan kebiasaannya. Tetapi di paragraf pertama disebutkan perbandingan betapa mengerikannya pasukan semut dibandingkan hewan-hewan buas yang jauh lebih besar ukuran tubuhnya dan diakhiri dengan kalimat yang bermakna berlawanan dari yang dipercaya banyak orang, pasukan semut ini hampir tidak pernah menyerang hewan lain yang lebih besar ataupun manusia. Kemudian di paragraf terakhir dijelaskan karakteristik pasukan semut berdasarkan arti per unsur katanya dalam bahasa Jepang yang berkaitan dengan karakteristik loyal antar sesama dan selalu bekerja sama sehingga dapat membuat manusia kagum. Maka jawaban E yang tepat karena jelas di sini penulis ingin menyangkal anggapan orang yang salah mengenai pasukan semut yang dianggap sangat kuat sehingga dapat membunuh banyak makhluk yang lebih besar.
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