This awesome footage shows ants taking teamwork to a whole new level. They are physically linking their bodies together to create a living rope. Then, some other ants are using that rope to drag a centipede – presumably back to the nest so that it can be consumed. This level of organization is astounding and will make you admire ants even more than before – check it out!
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Where Do Ants Normally Live?
Ants are insects in the Formicidae family and have been on earth for over 100 million years. That’s enough time to perfect their teamwork skills! They are found on every continent except Antarctica and do not occupy the Arctic Circle. Even a supercolony of ants stretches 3,700 miles along the Mediterranean coast!
There are more than 12,000 recorded species of ants, but we know many more that we have not yet cataloged. They evolved from wasp-like animals and now come in lots of different sizes. The largest is the giant Amazonian ant, which measures over 1.5 inches. They can exploit a wide range of habitats, including urban areas.
How Do Ants Communicate?
The level of cooperation seen in this clip requires excellent communication. Ants use chemical communication. They release special substances called pheromones into the air, and the other ants in the colony detect these. Some pheromones warn of danger, while others guide the ants to a food source.
Recently, scientists have discovered that ants also communicate through vibration. When some ants become aware that their nest is under threat, they drum their mandibles (mouth parts) or use their abdomens to make vibrations. Even though these are tiny movements, other ants can pick them up using hair-like organs called sensilla.
The pheromones and vibrations trigger behavior in the other ants. This may be rushing out to collect food or defending their nest from a predator.
What Do Ants Normally Eat?
Ants are omnivores, meaning they can eat plants and animals. In practice, most ants will eat just about anything! They are also opportunists and make the most of food sources that they come across. Having said that, some have developed highly specialized strategies to exploit certain food sources in their environments. For example, the leafcutter ant cultivates a type of fungus. Also, the dairying ant ‘farms’ aphids to provide them with food just like we farm cattle.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © demonhero69/Shutterstock.com
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