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Interesting Findings And World Unfolding Through My Eyes.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Why Ants Not Say A Word When Co Worker Walk Over Them

A scientific study of the teamwork of army ants has discovered how they are prepared to let their fellow ants walk all over them to get the job done.
Scientists from the University of Bristol observed that, when ants were foraging on rough terrain, some of them used their own bodies to plug potholes.

They even chose which of them was the best fit to lie across each hole.

The flatter surface provided the rest of the group, which can number 200,000, a faster route between prey and nest.

The research, published in the journal of Animal Behaviour, said that the team first noticed the army ants' (Eciton burchellii) unusual behaviour in the insects' native rainforest home in Panama.

I think every road user who has ever inwardly cursed as their vehicle bounced across a pothole... will identify with this story.

Professor Nigel Franks

To investigate this further, the researchers inserted wooden planks, drilled with a variety of different sized holes, into the army ants' trails.

They found that the ants did indeed plug the holes, but the team also discovered that individuals would size-match themselves to a hole for the best fit.

Wobbling about

"The ants have a very large size range within their colony, measuring from 2mm up to 1cm (0.08-0.4in)," explained Dr Scott Powell, a biologist at the University of Bristol and an author of the paper.

"When the ants bump into a hole they cannot cross, they edge their way around it and then spread their legs and wobble back and forth to check their fit.

As the traffic diminishes, the ant pops out and heads home

"If they are too big, then they carry on and another ant will come along and measure itself in the same way. This carries on until an appropriately sized ant plugs the hole."

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Posted by Ajay :: 12:52 PM :: 0 comments

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