Do you want to remove all your recent searches?

All recent searches will be deleted

Fire Ants Form a Raft With Their Bodies to Avoid Drowning

4 years ago402 views

GeoBeats

Geo Beats

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology studying a Brazilian species of fire ant found that the colony can stick together to create a waterproof floating raft made entirely of ant bodies.

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology studying a Brazilian species of fire ant found that the colony can stick together to create a waterproof floating raft made entirely of ant bodies.

The fire ant rafts have around 200 bodies in every square inch, and can be as large as a garbage can top, but are usually the size of small plates.

Thousands of ants can organize themselves in a matter of minutes.

David Hu, one of the researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology who has been studying the fire ant rafts for several years is quoted as saying: “They are all acting together, and there are so many of them that they are really becoming a single material. Where someone pushes on them, they initially act like a solid, but if you leave the plate there, they will also flow and respond.”

Dead ants are released from the raft because they can’t move and would compromise the fluidity of the ant structure.

The researchers studying the ants have come up with equations to understand the movement patterns of the ant rafts, which could be used as a model for designing robots capable of self arranging to maneuver tight spaces, or in the design of self fixing building material.