Sunday, 10 July 2011

Emergent ants... the wet way

Ants never cease to amaze. A group of scientists of the Georgia Institute of Technology studied how groups of ants "link" themselves together forming a self-assembled organic structure that... does not sink!  "Even when enough force is applied to submerge it, the raft quickly pops back up undamaged" writes the New Scientist. Appearently, they grip with mandibles, claws and some "adhesive stuff" present on legs. How can this lifeboat "float" is still unknown anyway.

Ant colony is far more important than the single one, so they evolved many ways to bind together and preserve the whole swarm, by forming ladders, walls and, in this case, even a raft. Of course, sub-swarm units are important too: scientists discovered that they can "trap" a small amount of air, in order to keep breathing when submerged. Amazing.

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