BAD PARENTING: Ants use their newborns as rafts in flood situations
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
2/24/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
It first sounds like a shining example of the ruthlessness of nature. Ants, when faced with the possibility of flooding, use their youngest to line rafts in order to float to safety. This is among the latest findings from researchers at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Fear not: the baby ants usually survive, with a 79 percent survival rate.
Research proved that 79 percent of the young ants were able to survive their ordeal after eight hours under water.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The scientists say that the ants build rafts out of their own bodies to survive floods, with their babies at the bottom, on the water. Ants line the bottoms of these makeshift rafts with their own highly buoyant young.
This potentially puts the youngest ants in harm's way, as fish can come along and eat them. It has been proved that this rather barbaric practice maintains the colony's integrity. The situation takes advantage of the natural buoyancy of brood ants and lets the adult worker ants to recover more quickly.
The research also proved that 79 percent of the young ants were able to survive their ordeal after eight hours under water.
The ants also use their babies as life rafts during these floods, according to the study. This unusual behavior was observed in ants living in flood plains and may have evolved from ants living in the rainforest of Brazil long ago.
The practice is brought into play whenever large colonies of ants are caught in water. Creating rafts from their own bodies, the ants link together into a flat circle. Able to trap air beneath the group, these "living structures" are usually three to four ants thick, containing a total of 500 to 8,000 individuals under laboratory conditions. "Ant raft" can contain up to 100,000 ants in rural conditions.
"By causing groups of ants to raft in the laboratory, we observe that workers are distributed throughout the raft, queens are always in the center, and 100% of brood items are placed on the base. Through a series of experiments, we show that workers and brood are extremely resistant to submersion," the researchers wrote.
Not all of the ants were pleased with their placing on the hierarchy. Some of the insects were forced to take positions in the water, or on the edge of rafts.
"We find that ants can considerably enhance their water repellency by linking their bodies together, a process analogous to the weaving of a waterproof fabric. We present a model for the rate of raft construction based on observations of ant trajectories atop the raft. Central to the construction process is the trapping of ants at the raft edge by their neighbors, suggesting that some "cooperative" behaviors may rely upon coercion," researchers wrote.
Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for FEBRUARY 2017
Comfort for the Afflicted. That all those who are afflicted, especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized, may find welcome and comfort in our communities.
California is known for sunny weather, even in the winter. That has made the state one of the greatest destinations for people looking to ... continue reading
What the heck is a Tully Monster? If there was an award for the strangest animal to ever live, the Tully Monster would be on the short list ... continue reading
Like something out of a storybook, scientists have discovered <i>life</i> in crystals. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading
Scientists are ready to bring the woolly mammoth back from extinction using new gene editing technology. The creature will be a hybrid, ... continue reading
In December of 2015, Catholic Online reported that an atmospheric river event known as an ARk storm could cause catastrophic flooding in ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- Mardi Gras' History in New Orleans HD Video
- King Richard III's detailed personal prayer book, 'Book of Hours.' is ...
- 'Living Lent': Ash Wednesday - Day 1
- 'Living Lent': Thursday after Ash Wednesday - Day 2
- Bl. Charles the Good: Saint of the Day for Thursday, March 02, 2017
- Ash Wednesday HD Video
- Daily Readings for Thursday, March 02, 2017
- Daily Reading for Thursday, March 2nd, 2017 HD
- Living Lent HD
- An Ancient Lent Challenge: How to take Lent to the next level HD
- Mardi Gras' History in New Orleans HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.