Friday, 19 October 2012

Flying ant day 'a summer myth', scientists say

By Matt BardoReporter, BBC Nature
The study involved examining 6,000 sightings in the UK
The notion of an annual flying ant day, when swarms of ants emerge and take to the air in mass mating flights, is a "myth", scientists say.
UK summer data gathered by the Society of Biology shows two peaks in flying ant appearances over one fortnight.
They mapped 6,000 flying ant sightings, made by members of the public this year, to learn about ant behaviour.
The team now hopes to repeat the study in future years so that the scientists can draw firmer conclusions.
The survey was organised by the Society of Biology with the results announced as part of Biology Week, which runs until Friday.
The main findings to be drawn from the study concern the black garden ant (Lasius niger), the most common ant species in the UK.
Some of the results have surprised the experts.
"Even over a small area emergences happened on different days, suggesting that local synchronisation is not as precise as is widely believed," said Professor Adam Hart, an ecologist at University of Gloucestershire, who presented the results of the survey at a Biology Week event.

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