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Tiny Vessels Make Much Noise: Listen To Ants As They Walk

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

So you've spread the blanket and opened the picnic basket, and then you see them - ants. Maybe it's a tickle on your arm, a single soldier announcing its presence or it's a dark river of activity going for the potato salad. Bad enough, but here's Sam Harnett at The World According to Sound with another dimension to this nightmare.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SAM HARNETT, BYLINE: These are ants, hundreds and hundreds of small black ants. They're scurrying over contact microphones. Sound engineer Steven Frost laid the mics next to their nest. The ants are investigating these foreign objects. Some are even biting them. That's what these louder popping noises are - ant mandibles chewing on a microphone.

Most ants only weigh a few milligrams. You'd need five of them to equal a single grain of rice. But with these microphones, we can hear their little footsteps loud and clear.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

MCEVERS: That's Sam Harnett, who along with Chris Hoff is behind the podcast The World According to Sound. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.