Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox every week.      
The Kid Should See This

Longhorn ‘Crazy Ants’ work erratically/cooperatively to carry loads

You never know where the inspiration to learn might come from. Take, for example, cat food pieces that appeared to “float” away from a cat’s bowl…

When scientist Ehud Fonio saw that longhorn ‘crazy ants’ — known for their erratic movements — were zigzagging in a less than efficient manner to cooperatively carry the food away, it inspired his team at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel to conduct a study of the behavior. The results:

They found that the ants rotate jobs, alternating between carrying the load and “scouting out” the scene. If any scout ants notice their loaded down comrades drift off course, they grab hold and stubbornly push the disoriented group back on track.

The individuals come with the solution,” says [study co-author] Ofer Feinerman. “The group gives it the muscle power…”

Each leader’s role is short-lived and may last only 10 to 15 seconds, explains Feinerman. After that, the leader loses its sense of direction and becomes one of the crowd, and other carriers detach to scout.

Feinerman’s diagram of the ants’ movements illustrates how this plays out:

detailed_trajectory_data_0

We love learning from ants. How do the ants work (or not work) together where you live? Read more about longhorn ‘crazy ants’ at National Geographic: We Just Learned How ‘Crazy Ants’ Ever Get Anything Done.

Watch these two videos next: The Sticky Feet of Ants & Cockroaches and The Incredible Physics of Ants.

🌈 Related videos

Carnivorous Plants and Killer Ants – Gross Science

Rion Nakaya

eMotionButterflies & BionicANTs: Festo’s bionic insect collectives

Rion Nakaya

Pouring 1200F molten aluminum into an anthill?

Rion Nakaya

Driver ants build a new home and move their queen

Rion Nakaya

Animanimals: Ant

Rion Nakaya

Why do Leafcutter Ants cut leaves and carry them away?

Rion Nakaya

Norwegian orcas eat herring by cooperatively carousel feeding

Rion Nakaya

Why 10 Daily Tons of Ant Poop Keep This Rainforest Thriving

Rion Nakaya

The Sticky Feet of Ants & Cockroaches – Cambridge Ideas

Rion Nakaya

Get 7 smart videos delivered every week.

 

Subscribe