A mind-blowing new report out of the University of Wurzburg has just found out something remarkable about ants.
Scientists have just made an astonishing discovery about ants, and one they weren’t exactly expecting to find. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, claims that ants actually rescue their fallen comrades.
And this behavior provides a tremendous benefit to the colony, as without the fallen ants, the colony sizes would be a third smaller because injured ants die if they aren’t helped home, according to a statement from the University of Wurzburg.
Researchers came to this conclusion by studying hunting ants in Africa who raid termite nests. The Megaponera analis ants live in sub-Saharan African, and multiple times per day up to 500 ants will attack a termite nest. The ants carry the dead termites back to the nest for feeding. These fierce battles often lead to casualties for the ants, though, prompting this fascinating behavior.
“The African Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) are widespread south of the Sahara and are a specialised termite predator,” the statement reads. “Two to four times a day, the ants set out to hunt prey. Proceeding in long files, they raid termites at their foraging sites, killing many workers and hauling the prey back to their nest.
“These attacks, however, are met with resistance and the ants get involved in fights with termites of the soldier caste. Injury and mortality can occur during such combats, as the soldiers are very adept at using their powerful jaws to fend off the attackers.”