Floating Fire Ant Raft
May 4, 2011
In our latest “Big John,” Uncle John’s HEAVY DUTY Bathroom Reader, we brought you “Uncle John’s Ants,” a long article about…ants (page 523). In it we mention fire ants, and their ability to make rafts—of their own bodies—during floods, allowing them to take the queen and her eggs to safety.
Well lately that amazing ability has been getting a bit of news, as there have just recently been breakthroughs into just how the ants do it, including this one:
The researchers had originally thought that the ants on the bottom of the raft were underwater and would be unable to breathe, and thus that the ants must have been changing shifts to prevent drowning. Not so: the insects didn’t need to change positions because the protective layer of air kept their bodies from sinking beneath the water’s surface.
There’s much more—do go read the whole thing. But first, watch this fascinating floating fire ant video: