Haolin “Horace” Zeng is a University of Georgia-Athens entomology PhD student who rears and studies ants as a part of his work. His YouTube channel is filled with myrmecological experiments, including this one-minute long “example of tool use in ants.”
“Fire ants ‘paving’ sticky surfaces with the shiny glass gravels I gave them. I’ve seen signs of this behavior, but I didn’t expect it to be so robust until my friend told me about it.”
Zeng also links to a 2020 paper about the phenomenon:
“A previous study reported that red imported fire ants, Solenopsis invicta Buren, deposited soil particles on substances treated with essential balm, a fire ant repellent. We hypothesized that S. invicta modifies inaccessible surfaces by covering them with soil particles to facilitate food search and transportation… Our study provides a novel example of particle use by fire ants during foraging.”
Watch more ant videos on TKSST, including:
• The incredible physics of ants and ant rafts
• The Sticky Feet of Ants & Cockroaches
• Longhorn ‘Crazy Ants’ work erratically/cooperatively to carry loads
• How can weaver ants protect an entire orchard?
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