A new study indicates that injured ants are not left behind, being carried back home by their comrades. Just like soldiers do, ants have a similar behavior. The new report was published on April 12, in the Science Advances journal. Megaponera analis is an ant species which hunts and eats termites. When they find a group of termites, ants get back to their nest and gather their troops, being ready for battle.
- Who would have thought that ants behave just like soldier when in combat!
- Scientists have indicated that after a group of ants hunts a group of termites, injured ants are carried to the nest.
- Wounded ants are carried back home by their comrades to recuperate.
Erik Frank, a biologist, claims that 200 to 500 ants are bound to march out in groups. They would form a column of about two meters in which three ants would stay next to one another. This is one of nature’s peculiarities because this column may look just like a snake crawling on the ground. When the group of termites sees this army of ants approaching, they try to find a way out, but they do not know that they have no escape.
Erik Frank is a doctoral student at the University of Wurzburg in Germany who is studying animal evolution and behavior. In just 20 minutes, the battle is over and the army of ants starts collecting their prey, carrying it home. Unfortunately, a few ants might get injured during the fight, and they might need support to get to the ant nest. Injured ants are never left behind. Their comrades carry them back home.
A few years ago, when Frank was working at a field station in the Ivory Coast, he noticed how ants marching home were not carrying only termites, but also some of their mates. He investigated into the matter and found out that the ants which were carried were not dead, but injured. Some of the ants who lost a leg or two during the battle are unable to walk their way home. Since they need to support, their comrades are bound to be there to help them.
The injured ants might also be weighed down by some termites which clamped onto their legs and won’t let them go. That is why the injured ants would be slower than the rest which only carries dead termites. Frank decided to mark some of the wounded ants with paint, and he discovered that they would recover from their injuries almost every time after they had been carried home for recuperation. They can use fewer legs when walking since they have lost one or two legs in battle. After recuperation, they get ready for combat again.
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