Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Oh Snap: Trap-Jaw Ants Jump with Their Legs, Too

by Mindy Weisberger, Senior Writer | December 01, 2015 07:43am ET

Trap-jaw ants are known for using their powerful jaws to launch themselves into the air, somersaulting several times their own body length to evade predators. But some of these ants have another trick in their escape arsenal. Scientists recently discovered a trap-jaw species that leaps with its legs, a behavior that is extremely rare in ants and previously unknown in the trap-jaw family. Talk about getting a jump on the competition.

Magdalena Sorger of North Carolina State University and author of the study describing this unusual behavior, was collecting trap-jaw ants in Borneo with a field assistant in 2012, when they noticed something "extremely strange," she told Live Science

Sorger was used to seeing Odontomachus rixosus, a species of trap-jaw ant, perform jaw jumps, which typically propelled the ants backward (sometimes onto a scrutinizing scientist's face). But the ants were doing something quite different.

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