Recently, a video surfaced of ants doing something quite amazing: forming multiple daisy chains to pull a massive centipede (presumably back towards their colony).
Check out the amazing video below:
According to Terry McGlynn, an Entomologist at Cal State University at Dominguez Hills, the video shows a species of Leptogenys ant somewhere in southeast Asia.
What really shocked McGlynn about the video was that even ant experts had never witnessed this particular behavior before.
Don’t get me wrong, ants have a long history of working cooperatively to do amazing things.
Just recently, a University of Colorado Ph.D. student named Helen McCreery published a paper outlining over 40 different cooperative strategies that have been observed in various ant species.
Much of her research focused on weaver ants, who work together to take down much larger prey. Weaver ants are able to collectively carry prey as large as birds and snakes vertically up into the trees (where they build their nests).
But even McCreery had never seen anything like the long daisy chains utilized by the Leptogenys ants:
“To me, this behavior seems to be different from what’s been observed in other ants (including the weaver ants) in an important way. These Leptogenys are moving their prey by grasping onto ants, instead of all grasping onto the prey itself,”
she wrote in an e-mail to The Atlantic.
“One could argue that the chains occur because ants just grab onto anything attached to the prey they are trying to move, but I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. Ants are very good at telling the difference between one of their sisters (another ant in the colony) and anything else.
“In my view, that makes this daisy chain behavior very different from other documented cooperative transport.”
Read more from The Atlantic here.