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Fire Ants Link To Form Single, Unsinkable Raft – VIDEO

Fire Ants Link To Form Single, Unsinkable Raft – VIDEO

Scientists in Georgia have filmed incredible video showing how South American fire ants link together to form living-life rafts and avoid mass drownings in their natural rain forest habitat.

From Geekosystem:

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have done perhaps the only serious engineering study that involves dumping a bunch of fire ants in water and watching what happens. Engineering professor David Hu and grad student Nathan J. Mlot were interested in reports they had heard of South American fire ants forming massive rafts out of themselves and clumping together during flooding, and after gathering up fire ants by the roadside in Georgia, they put the anecdotes to the test.

According to National Geographic, Georgia Institute of Technology engineering professor David Hu and graduate student Nathan J. Mlot, along with Georgia Tech systems-engineering professor Craig Tovey, collected fire ants and dropped them in water to test the ants’ acclaimed survival skills.

“They’ll gather up all the eggs in the colony and will make their way up through the underground network of tunnels, and when the flood waters rise above the ground, they’ll link up together in these massive rafts,” Mlot said.

In under two minutes, the insects spread across the water’s surface, joining together to form a single drowning-resistant unit.

The findings are published in the April 25 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Check out the amazing video:

 

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Photo Credit: EOL Learning and Education Group via Creative Commons

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96 comments

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8:30PM PDT on May 3, 2011

thank you.

7:55PM PDT on May 2, 2011

thank you.

1:38PM PDT on Apr 30, 2011

All of nature is so awesome.
Hope that idiot quit shoving them underwater before they all drown!
I kept screaming " stop already, we've got the point"!

11:24AM PDT on Apr 30, 2011

interesting but kind of sad to watch

2:45AM PDT on Apr 30, 2011

OK - yes, I get it. It's amazing, but WHY KEEP doing it??!! I found myself shouting at the screen wishing the idiot 'scientist' would desist. Are we now back to "they're only ants.."?? Another slippery path - 'They're only dogs, they're only cows, they're only black people.' The video made me squirm and believe me, I am not squeamish.

9:40PM PDT on Apr 28, 2011

Mother Nature takes care of her own. From the smallest to the largest living species, the breed must go on.

7:04PM PDT on Apr 28, 2011

ty

4:05PM PDT on Apr 28, 2011

Well said Ingrid.......why do the test in the first place?

3:48PM PDT on Apr 28, 2011

AWESOME ... they unite to protect the survival of the species ... "United we stand, divided we fall" ... gotta be a lesson in there somewhere ... hmmm??? :) Thnx

3:41PM PDT on Apr 28, 2011

Very interesting, thanks.

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