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Les fourmis de feu semblent avoir compris que l’union fait la force. Elles se montrent ainsi capables de construite des radeaux, de bâtir des ponts et même de paver une surface pour accéder à de la nourriture. Pas si bêtes, ces petites bêtes ! © comenoch, Adobe Stock

This is how fire ants build a bridge

“Monsters of Science” is like a collection of stories. Beautiful tales told to live in all their freshness. But also in all its complexities. Arch to marvel at the treasures of the world. In this new episode, let’s move on to the little monster: the fire ant.

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Ants, there are tens of thousands of themOcean. They are present in practically all regions of the world. Some are less discreet than others. For some time there has been a lot of talk about a certain thing Tapinuma magnum. Kind of “Super Ant” An invasive plant that destroys crops and resists conventional treatments. In Africa ? In South America ? Not in French. in France. It started in Corsica. with the Global WarmingThe little monster has attacked the continent. Around the Mediterranean first because these ants look like a seashore, then in the southwest. They have now even reached the Pays de la Loire.

But the one we want to talk about today is one of her cousins. One called scholars Solenopsis Invicta which we call fire ant. It is also invasive. Especially being aggressive. imagined. He’s biting his prey hard lower jaw. Its goal is to hold onto it so it can sting poor victims multiple times with its wasp-like stinger. He injected her with one of the most irritating toxins in the world. A poison that kills quite a few small animals.

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The stage is ready. However, what interests us here is the cognitive abilities of these ants. The capacities are all more surprising considering that they only have around 250,000 nervous cells. Compared to nearly 86 billion…

bridge over dangerous roof

in spite of that “inability”Fire ants show that they are capable of even heroic deeds that are still far from us. While they live in very dense communities, they know, for example, how to avoid … traffic jams!

They also know how to make rafts out of their bodies to escape floods. in itself binder to each other in a very coordinated way. Each ant in the process establishes contact with at least 14 of its neighbours.

All this by adopting group strategies, not individual ones.

and here the researchers Another group noted the group techniques these amazing ants had developed to overcome the obstacles that nature had put in their way. Or in this particular case, by the scientists who engaged in their experiments. They have already laid between our fire ants and a few pieces of sausage, a sticky surface. There could have been suicidal adventurous tendencies. The little animals would already have risked finding themselves trapped there.

But the fire ants had the show. They used the debris around – here, the pieces of glass available to them, in nature, it can also be pieces of leaves, branches, etc. — to build like a bridge. Coming to cover the adhesive surface.

The researchers note the same game when it comes to these tiny animals crossing a surface covered in a powerful ant repellent. Go some wreckage as a group and voila. It shows once again that fire ants are not so stupid!

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He points out in passing the role played by these insects in a process that scientists know as a biological disturbance. The process of rearranging the elements in the soil. Improve water permeability, as well as improve layer fertility arable.

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