A recent study suggests ants use team work to carry heavy loads that are otherwise indispensable for their survival during the winter months. Based on the discoveries that scientists have made, groups of ants are usually divided between lifters and leaders, which have well-assigned roles during the process of load transportation.
Ants have always triggered scientists’ attention because they are one of the most organized species of insects, other than being extremely diligent and hard-working. In some cultures, it has become quite a compliment to be compared to an ant, but this time it was something else that interested researchers, mainly the team work that ants make to carry out their heavy loads.
The answer to this mystery has been provided by the recent research that scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot have carried out under the close surveillance of Dr Ofer Feinerman. The researcher observed the small insects as they fought with heavy loads of food, including Cheerios pieces.
The videos that have been recorded during the experiment prove that ants have a very strict balance between individuality and conformism. The exemplars belonging to the longhorn crazy ant are generally known as erratic species which often change their directions giving the impression that they are not at all organized.
Feinerman believes this is a wrong impression as the recently registered videos have shown that longhorn ants are very organized and they carefully follow their leader’s instructions. By summing up all these pieces of information, scientists have reached the conclusion that 90 percent of their times the ants that carry the load conform to their leader’s requirements, whereas the remaining 10 percent are used to make individual decisions.
The leadership is passed on from one ant to another, based on the information they receive from the surrounding environment. Thus, each ant could lead to a sudden change of direction by pulling in the direction they require to avoid obstacles.
The research has further revealed that the bigger the load was, the more conformism the ants evinced. When confronted with 8cm and 16cm large loads, the ants felt the immediate urge to all pull in the same direction. However, data has indicated that ants will not work in groups that are larger than 16 members.
Researchers have been very pleased with their recent study. They will conduct additional research to determine the role that certain ants play within the group and the possible responsibilities they may have.
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