Medical ants rescue and care for injured comrades

The behavior surprised biologists, showing just how complex ants really are.

Study reveals how ants produce antibiotics

You can’t spell antibiotic without ant.

Ugly Unicorn: Metal-tipped prehistoric ant drank the blood of its victims for dinner

Stabby stabby!

Worst pain known to man is caused by world’s largest ant

Quick: Imagine the worst pain you’ve felt. Now, triple it and you’d still be a long way from the sting of the bullet ant.

Forever young: ants don’t seem to age

Most people don’t have that much of an issue with dying, like they do with being freaking old. Being old is a drag. You gain weight, the skin gets wrinkled, the mind and body weakens — and it all gets gradually worse until you expire. Ants don’t seem to share this human tragedy. By all accounts these particular ants don’t seem to age and die in youthful bodies.

Crops farmed by leafcutter ants show signs of domestication: Leafcutter ants became farmers 50 million years before humans

Leafcutter ants in South America grow fungus as crops, this has been known for quite a while. But their crops show clear signs of domestication, which means that when it comes to farming, the ants might have beaten us by some 50 million years. Ant farmers When people started growing crops, they unwittingly made changes to the plants’ genome. For

Watch: How Ants React to a Ringing iPhone

As soon as the phone starts ringing, these ants have a military-like reaction, forming a circle around the device. But why do they do this?

Ants can tell who’s who using their crazy sense of smell

Maybe the most amazing of social insects, ants use complex cues of pheromones to determine to which cast in the colony each individual ant belongs to. A team at University of California at Riverside found ants do this by sniffing out hydrocarbon chemicals present on their cuticles (outer shell). These cues are extremely subtle, but the ants can sense them with great sensitivity due to the way they’re hardwired. It’s enough to notice that ants have more olfactory receptor proteins in their genome than we humans have. Amazing!

Ants surprisingly agile even in microgravity, ISS experiment shows

Eight colonies of common ants were shipped to the International Space Station last December to study how microgravity might affect the creatures. So, how did the ants fare? Well, surprisingly good actually. The dexterous ants clung to the surface of the station and migrated freely (under supervision of course) despite weightlessness. Of course, their movements weren’t as coordinated as on Earth and since they rely on a sort of hive mind to coordinate the colony, researchers believe studying their mishaps in microgravity might aid in building better robots.

Voracious Plant Outsmarts Ants Even Without a Brain

Having a smart strategy doesn’t require a brain, a new study has shown. Researchers found an insect-eating plant from Borneo which can outsmart ants and temporarily turn off its trap to attract more prey.

City ants are garbage eating, rat-fighting machines

Ants often get a lot of bad rep for being “pests” in the city, but a new study has shown that ant populations are actually very helpful in urban environments. Scientists researching the behavior of ants have found that they dispose of garbage with remarkable efficiency, keeping rats and other garbage-dependent pests at bay. “Urban green spaces provide ecosystem services to

Invasive ant has bear trap-like jaw which can propel it through the air

An invasive ant has been sweeping through southeastern United States; it has a jaw like a bear trap, which close faster than almost anything in nature. Naturally, it packs quite a sting, and if that wasn’t enough, it can propel itself through the air like a rocket. “They look like little hammerhead sharks walking around,” said D. Magdalena Sorger. That

Ant biomechanics might inspire the super robots of the future

Ants are one of the most fascinating and extraordinary organisms on Earth. The ant society is extremely stable, compact and adaptable, but while ants can only survive as a colony, taken individually each ant is extremely remarkable by itself, too. Body size considered, ants are among the strongest beings in the world, capable of lifting and carrying objects a couple

Brawls for colony domination transforms winning worker ants into queens without DNA changes

In the animal kingdom, especially among those that are social, you’ll see a number of strategies employed to help the group’s chances of surviving. To each his own. For instance most ant colonies employ a social hierarchy where most members, like the worker ants, are rendered functionally sterile and only the absolute top of the ladder is allowed to reproduce

Study shows emergency exits can work better when they’re obstructed

Having a small obstruction barring an emergency exit can actually increase its efficiency and limit stampede damage caused by chaos and panic. In the midst of chaos and panic, most animals clump together and act irrationally, actually reducing their chances of survival in a pointless stampede. As sad as it may be, humans act pretty much the same way –

Acacia trees deal addiction to bodyguard ants

A strange evolutionary alliance between trees and the ants that guard them has a sinister explanation, a new study suggests, after studying ants hooked on nectar. Bodyguard ants and addiction In Central America, ants act as bodyguards for acacia trees, defending them not only from weeds, but also from animals, in exchange for accomodation and food – this has traditionally

Ants follow Fermat’s principle of least time

If you know your physics (or optics, to be more specific), you’ve probably heard a lot about Fermat’s principle (or the principle of least time). Basically, what it states is that the path taken between two points by a ray of light is the path that can be traversed in the least time. A ray of light will always travel