Thursday 21 April 2016

Bizarre Ant Life Rafts Have Assigned Seating

by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor   |   April 19, 2016 07:34am ET

It's weird enough that some ant species can work together to build living rafts in the event of a flood. Now, researchers find that individual ants have assigned seats on these life rafts — and they remember them again and again.

The floodplain-dwelling Alpine silver ants (Forica selysi) cluster together when the waters rise, creating a living life boat that surrounds and protects the colony's queenFire ant species make similar rafts, clinging to one another with their jaws, claws and sticky leg pads. Researchers call this process "self-assembly."

To understand how Alpine silver ants pull off this remarkably cooperative feat, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland marked the abdomens of ants with different colors of paint. They then subjected the insects to mock floods and video-recorded them swarming into floating masses.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails