# Tag Info

184

Joe, this is the HQ. It's likely the ants do not really melt the glass. In the 20th century some material scientists on Earth developed a kind of photoresist (called spin-on glass) which, after exposure to UV or e-beam and curing, would become what is for all intents and purposes, glass: randomly arranged SiO$_2$ chains. The principle is fairly similar ...

100

Can the human race survive? No. We're too dependent on them for our survival. An open attack would hurt them - we'd just insecticide them. That's not a good strategic move by the bugs. Not a good strategic move by us either, but the choice is stand idly by and get suffocated by a million crawly feet, or destroy the ecology and possibly survive. The ...

97

They aren't really ants, they are Thermites. Your ants deposit a line of thermite in a new tunnel, then ignite it (bonus points if they use a glass lens and sunlight for it) after scrambling the hell out of reach. I'm not enough of a chemist to say how they'd produce the thermite, but nature will find its way. (Maybe they use some symbiotic bacteria?)

70

There are already organisms that secrete glass without high temperatures. This paper discusses a wide variety of ways organisms handle it: Glass sponges grow a skeleton of glass spicules; Many plants secrete tiny glass crystals called phytoliths to dissuade herbivores; Diatoms and radiolarians secrete a glass protective skeleton. You just need the right ...

67

Town of Orangey cinnamon peppermint. Ya no joke. Spiders hunt in part by scent (apparently sweaty socks are a treat for them) and there are a few scents that repulse them pretty heavily, and as an added bonus...those scents actually smell decent to us. Surround the town walls with a ring of peppermint plants and wet down the walls with an orange cinnamon ...

45

You need an energy source other than the sun. The main alternative is reduced sulfur that can be oxidized for energy. Organisms that can do that chemistry are chemotrophs and so far all are bacteria. Either the bacteria themselves can form the plantlike base of the food chain or larger organisms with symbiotically associated chemotropic bacteria can be ...

31

The City of Nope Due to an incredibly pressing need, the inhabitants have developed flamethrowers hundreds of years early. Children are given their first one as toddlers, and are trained and drilled in their use from an early age. The construction of the city is entirely stone, to negate the frequent use of cleansing fire. Even fire isn't totally ...

31

Joe: Some folks back at HQ have some doubts about the Glass Ants building these tunnels. Instead, they may be excavating them. Desert glass is naturally occurring glass made when lightning strikes desert stands. The lightning fuses the silica together to form glass. Your Glass Ants may be finding natural deposits of this glass and then burrowing into it. ...

31

Trivial Answer: "Private parts" are a cultural construct. Define your culture such that no parts of these fairies are considered "private". Obvious Answer: There are a number of "backless" one-piece swimwear designs for real-world human women, some of which have more-or-less arbitrarily low coverage of the wearer's back, leaving the entire thoracic spine ...

28

Game Over, Humans Lose Our countermeasures against insects works because they aren't coordinated. Much of what we do to prevent exposure of our bodies, food and assets works against specific pests. Screens over doors and windows work against mosquitos and other biting insects. Pesticides prevent crop destruction. But, all of the things that we defend ...

27

Starting from simplest to most complicated, lets tackle the size issue first. Large insects physiology Insects do not breathe with lungs the way we do. They have many spiracles distributed over their body that open into many tracheae which allow oxygen into their body. They can't use expanding lungs the way we do because their exoskeleton cannot deal ...

24

Glass ants use symbiosis with a native plant species (with hollow roots) that already used silica naturally (and without needing high temperatures.) Three facts help explain the glass ants: Ants species have repeatedly formed symbiotic relationships with plants (and fungi) for food, shelter and defense. Examples include: https://www.sciencedaily....

18

Probably. Insectoids might be slower. There are several issues though. When most people think "giant insects", they think of insects, only scaled up. Except, this is biologically and physically impossible. When you scale things up, the mass scales by the cube - you'll need very thick legs (think elephants) and most likely a standing posture. You'll also ...

18

They approached the fabled city surrounded by spiders, the boat rocking slightly on the massive river. Luckily, the river was wide enough where trees were not a worry, they only spanned a very short distance over the water. One of the guards shot a spider skating quickly towards them, across the water. Spiders were not able to drop down from above but some ...

18

There are some areas of the world in which most insects would have a hard time surviving -- deserts and near the poles. Though of course in the sub-artic regions midges seem to do pretty well every summer. A few humans could probably hold out in the arctic sustained by fishing etc. (i.e. traditional Inuit would be OK). There might be large enough oases in ...

15

For armour, large plates of chitin might be problematic, mostly because it is unlikely the shape of the insect will correspond to any body part which you are looking to protect. More useful perhaps would be Lamellar armour, where small plates of chitin could be carved into shape and then laced together to form a flexible and relatively lightweight ...

15

Three approaches. Approach One: slow and steady. Unleash your creation over the course of 100 million years. That will give the ecosystems enough time to adapt. After all, the best things in life are worth waiting for. Approach Two: apologetically. Kill off the flies in small area, and observe what ecosystems change. Say you're sorry to any birds or ...

13

My first thought was something like the answer from ths The ants cannot produce the temperatures required from their own bodies but could construct something using materials which burn at a high temperature. My first thought was Thermite But that's problematic.There is no known biological system which can produce pure aluminum. Aluminum is pretty much ...

12

Well our bug bombs are pretty effective. We have chemicals that are extremely deadly and can be deployed from the air, from canisters or even by hand. The initial attack would cause trouble. Assume massive human losses at the start. The bugs will have complications crossing the oceans, giving humans time to prepare. Once the pest killing machine gets ...

11

Get them fighting eachother. Seriously, this is the kind of "what if" that doesn't go well for the question in search of answers. You have created an enemy that is: Far smarter than us Far stronger than us Out masses us by several orders of magnitude Hates us Has no weak point, because it is so diffused Already has control of the entire globe These sorts ...

11

One of the biggest limitations is actually breathing and circulation. See here: https://www.quora.com/Entomology/Do-any-insects-have-hearts-and-lungs-or-do-they-have-a-completely-different-system-of-breathing Hearts: Sort of. Insects have an open circulatory system, meaning their organs just float in blood. It's similar to how human organs float in lymph, ...

11

I will first comment that you've limited yourself rather severely. In a locust swarm, a "large swarm" consists of billions of individuals, with eighty million locusts per square kilometre not being unusual. Controlling 3000 of those will not do you any good, either to deploy such a swarm or to defend against such a swarm. But if we're limited to 3000 ...

10

The Wasp Riders The spider's natural enemy is the wasp. Wasps sting spiders and bring them, paralyzed, back to their nests to feed their young. That won't work on a fully grown giant spider (unless the town raises giant wasps, which I suppose is a possibility. They might make for a great air force, as well), but even if the wasps are small, they could sting ...

9

An alien that looks like an insect - i.e. has an exoskeleton - is quite plausible. We do not get such creatures of the size you desire here on earth simply because insects have an open circulatory system and a largely diffusion-based respiratory system, however, an exoskeletal alien of larger size would need - and there is no reason why it could not have - ...

9

How to tell they are intelligent I think the easiest way, in both directions, to determine intelligence would be to see artifacts, such as clothing. If the ant has ant pants, it's probably intelligent. If it seemed intelligent, but didn't recognize the same about me, mathematical sequences would be a good bet. I can be fairly sure that an advanced race ...

9

Diatoms are algae that make silica shells. They do not use heat, of course; they deposit hydrated soluble silica (as silicic acid) along with organic matrix to produce their shells. The shells last a very very long time. http://www.pnas.org/content/113/8/2017.full.pdf Having an ant acquire silica manipulating abilities is quite an evolutionary jump. It ...

9

Have you considered your creatures would not eat at all? Basically they spend their lives as a larva before coming to the cave. During the larva stage they eat enough to supply them for the rest of their life. After the larva stage, the transformation makes them immune and drawn to the aura. Some crocodiles assumingly can go without food for over 3 years, ...

8

The vehicles would probably have better suspension and stabilization effects then wheeled or tracked counterparts. Consider having six independently articulating shock absorbers. And the fact that these would more than likely absorb said shock in different parts of the legs i.e the joints of the leg.As for stabilizing the vehicles when firing, just look at ...

7

Fire and axes would be the primary defense against them. One thing that would work well would be to find/train animals that fear the spiders, monkeys or loud birds. So when they spot a spider creeping about they will raise a cry to warn the watch. They will be armed with flaming arrows and axes should the spiders get close enough to need a more personal ...

7

Neither side wins The reason why we haven't exterminated insects already is because they are needed for just about everything. They are a crucial part of the ecosystem as well. Let's say they all move to a portion of the world to wipe out a specific target: humans. They still need to eat and survive. It would be a battle of attrition against themselves ...

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