Current Ants News and Events

Current Ants News and Events, Ants News Articles.
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The way a fish swims reveals a lot about its personality, say scientists
Personality has been described in all sorts of animal species, from ants to apes. Some individuals are shy and sedentary, while others are bold and active. Now a new study published in Ecology and Evolution has revealed that the way a fish swims tells us a lot about its personality. (2021-02-23)

In dueling ants vying to become queen, behavioral and molecular cues quickly determine who will win
In one species of ants, workers duel to establish new leadership after the death of their queen. While these sparring matches stretch for more than a month, changes in behavior and gene expression in the first three days of dueling can accurately predict who will triumph, according to a New York University study published in the journal Genes & Development. (2021-02-18)

Social distancing in the natural world: Strategies to detect and avoid disease
The notion of social distancing rose to public prominence approximately a year ago, when health officials began recommending it as a way to slow the spread of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus. Despite the novelty of the concept among many contemporary human audiences, social distancing has considerable precedent among animals. (2021-02-09)

New antifungal compound from ant farms
Attine ants are farmers, and they grow fungus as food. Pseudonocardia and Streptomyces bacteria are their farmhands, producing metabolites that protect the crop from pathogens. Surprisingly, these metabolites lack common structural features across bacteria from different geographic locations, even though the ants share a common ancestor. Now, researchers report in ACS Central Science they have identified the first shared antifungal compound among many of these bacteria across Brazil. The compound could someday have medical applications. (2021-01-20)

Caterpillars mimic leaves or offer rewards for protection by ants
Study reveals different forms of interaction between insect groups: while some caterpillar species have bodies covered with molecules identical to those of the plants they inhabit and are 'invisible' to ants, others offer ants nectar in exchange for protection from predators (2020-12-09)

Animal groups consider multiple factors before fighting
Groups of animals consider multiple factors before deciding whether to fight rivals, researchers say. (2020-11-10)

Migration and molt affect how birds change their colors
Before their big journey, many birds molt their bright feathers, replacing them with a more subdued palette. Watching this molt led scientists to wonder how feather color changes relate to the migrations many birds undertake twice each year. (2020-11-06)

"Helper" ambrosia beetles share reproduction with their mother
A new study shows for the first time that Xyleborus affinis beetles are cooperative breeders, where females disperse to found new nests or stay to help their mother raise siblings, while also reproducing themselves. They grow an asexual Raffaella fungus alongside their nest galleries, apparently their only source of food. (2020-11-04)

Ants are skilled farmers: They have solved a problem that we humans have yet to
Ants have been farmers for tens of millions of years and successfully solved a riddle that we humans have yet to. A new study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen reports that ants are pros at cultivating climate-resilient crops. (2020-11-04)

Ants swallow their own acid to protect themselves from germs
Ants use their own acid to disinfect themselves and their stomachs. A team from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and the University of Bayreuth has found that formic acid kills harmful bacteria in the animal's food, thereby reducing the risk of disease. At the same time, the acid significantly influences the ant's intestinal flora. The new study was published in the journal eLife. (2020-11-03)

Hidden losses deep in the Amazon rainforest
New research shows that animal patterns are changing in the absence of landscape change, which signals a sobering warning that simply preserving forests will not maintain rainforest biodiversity. (2020-10-26)

The Darwinian diet: you are what you eat
Ant farmers in tropical forests respond to the nutritional needs of their fungus gardens. And just as in human agriculture, the needs of each partner become more specialized as the relationship evolves. (2020-10-26)

Losing flight had huge benefits for ants, finds new study
Researchers have taken detailed scans of worker ants to examine the hypothesis that the loss of flight is directly connected to the evolution of strength. (2020-10-18)

Supergene discovery leads to new knowledge of fire ants
A unique study conducted by University of Georgia entomologists led to the discovery of a distinctive supergene in fire ant colonies that determines whether young queen ants will leave their birth colony to start their own new colony or if they will join one with multiple queens. (2020-10-15)

Ants adapt tool use to avoid drowning
Researchers have observed black imported fire ants using sand to draw liquid food out of containers, when faced with the risk of drowning. This is the first time this sophisticated tool use has been reported in animals. These findings are published in the British Ecological Society journal Functional Ecology. (2020-10-08)

Pandemics and epidemics could exacerbate racism xenophobia
Human beings share these same biological impulses as other animals to separate into modular social groups. However, when pathogens are spreading, humans tend to also adopt behaviors that are ''hyper vigilant and particularly error prone,'' against those with different phenotypes. (2020-09-16)

Origin of a complex life form revealed
Researchers from McGill University have revealed the steps by which two very distinct organisms -- bacteria and carpenter ants -- have come to depend on one another for survival to become a single complex life form. The study, published today in Nature, shows that the two species have collaborated to radically alter the development of the ant embryo to allow this integration to happen. (2020-09-02)

Reduce insecticide spraying by using ant pheromones to catch crop pests
Scientists at Bath have developed a molecular sponge that soaks up the pheromones of ants and releases them slowly to attract the pests to an insecticide trap. (2020-08-27)

New study shows evolutionary breakdown of 'social' chromosome in ants
Scientists from Queen Mary University of London have found that harmful mutations accumulating in the fire ant social chromosome are causing its breakdown. (2020-08-25)

New fossil discovery shows how ancient 'hell ants' hunted with headgear
A fossil recently recovered from the age of the dinosaurs is giving scientists the most vivid picture yet of how one of the most enigmatic and fearsome groups of ants to exist once used their uncanny tusk-like mandibles and diverse horns to successfully hunt down victims for nearly 20 million years, before vanishing from the planet. (2020-08-06)

New study sheds light on evolution of hell ants from 100 million years ago
An international research team co-led by Prof. WANG Bo from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology (NIGPAS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has confirmed the special trap-jaw predation mechanism of hell ants, providing new insights into their evolution. (2020-08-06)

Remote islands: Stepping stones to understanding evolution
In a new study published in Evolution, researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) and collaborators from the University of the Ryukyus investigated evolutionary and ecological changes in ants in the South Pacific archipelago of Fiji to examine a controversial theory for how evolution occurs on islands. (2020-07-30)

Daytime aardvark sightings are a sign of troubled times
New research by the team from Wits, with collaborators from the University of Cape Town and University of Pretoria, reveals what a shift from night-time to daytime activity means for the well-being of aardvarks in a warming and drying world. (2020-07-09)

Study of giant ant heads using simple models may aid bio-inspired designs
Researchers have developed a simple model to study how ants balance their large heads relative to their body size. Such models may have useful applications in bio-inspired designs. (2020-07-09)

Strange bedfellows
Advanced X-ray MicroCT technology offers unparalleled insights into the functional morphology of specialized organs that mediate interactions between butterfly caterpillars and their ant hosts. (2020-07-07)

Alarming long-term effects of insecticides weaken ant colonies
This week, scientists of the Institute of Bee Health of the University of Bern have published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Communications Biology, which shows how even low doses of neonicotinoid insecticides, as they may realistically occur in contaminated soils, adversely affect the development of black garden ants (Lasius niger). This study highlights the need to overthink current deployment and management of chemical pest control for more sustainable agriculture. (2020-07-01)

Adding an extra entrance to an ants' nest reduces their foraging efficiency
Adding an extra entrance to an ants' nest reduces their foraging efficiency: more ants go foraging, but they are less able to find and distinguish between food sources of varying value. (2020-07-01)

Invasive fire ants limiting spread of meat allergy -- but pose their own dangers
Invasive fire ants with a nasty bite are limiting the spread of a dangerous meat allergy, new research suggests. But it's not all good news, as the ants themselves can also cause severe allergic reactions. (2020-06-24)

An ant-inspired approach to mathematical sampling
In a paper published by the Royal Society, a team of Bristol researchers observed the exploratory behaviour of ants to inform the development of a more efficient mathematical sampling technique. (2020-06-19)

Parasites and the microbiome
In a study of ethnically diverse people from Cameroon, the presence of a parasite infection was closely linked to the make-up of the gastrointestinal microbiome, according to a research team led by Penn scientists. (2020-06-12)

Bees? Please. These plants are putting ants to work
This is the first plant species in the world found to have adapted traits that enables a mutually beneficial relationship with ants. (2020-06-10)

What do ants and light rays have in common when they pass through lenses?
Foraging trails of ants across a lens-shaped substrate that slows them (Velcro) down diverge away from the ''lens'' center more for the convex than for the concave lens, similar to the behavior of light. (2020-05-26)

Ants use collective 'brainpower' to navigate obstacles
Ants use their numbers to overcome navigational challenges that are too large and disorienting to be tackled by any single individual, reports a new study in the open-access journal eLife. (2020-05-12)

Virgin birth has scientists buzzing
In a study published today in Current Biology, researchers from University of Sydney have identified the single gene that determines how Cape honey bees reproduce without ever having sex. One gene, GB45239 on chromosome 11, is responsible for virgin births. (2020-05-07)

Research reveals possibly active tectonic system on the Moon
Strange spots scattered across the Moon's nearside where bedrock is conspicuously exposed are evidence of seismic activity set in motion 4.3 billion years ago that could be ongoing today, the researchers say. (2020-04-30)

Ants restore Mediterranean dry grasslands
A team of ecologists and agronomists led by Thierry Dutoit, a CNRS researcher, studied the impact of the Messor barbarus harvester ant on Mediterranean dry grasslands. Their study shows that these invertebrates accelerated the resilience of plant communities in these degraded grasslands by facilitating their recovery. (2020-04-20)

What is an individual? Information Theory may provide the answer
Despite the near-universal assumption of individuality in biology, there is little agreement about what individuals are and few rigorous quantitative methods for their identification. A new approach may solve the problem by defining individuals in terms of informational processes. (2020-04-15)

Ants or plants? Evolutionary diversification factors of aphids
The plant-feeding insect aphids are thought to have diversified by shifting their host plants to other closely related plant species. However, the aphid Stomaphis established not only association with host plants but also mutualistic relationship with ants. The team examined that the relative importance of host plants and mutualistic partners in their diversification and found the unusual evolutionary pattern in aphids. (2020-04-10)

Risk aversion as a survival strategy in ants
Ants are excellent navigators and always find their way back to the nest. But how do they react when an obstacle or a predator blocks their path? An international team including Antoine Wystrach, a CNRS researcher has shown that ants are capable of changing their familiar route to avoid traps thanks to an aversive learning mechanism: by associating visual cues with negative experiences, they can memorize potentially dangerous routes. (2020-04-09)

Paleontology: Fossil trove sheds light on ancient antipodean ecology
The oldest known animals and plants preserved in amber from Southern Gondwana are reported in Scientific Reports this week. Gondwana, the supercontinent made up of South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, Antarctica and Australia, broke away from the Pangea supercontinent around 200 million years ago. The findings further our understanding of ecology in Australia and New Zealand during the Late Triassic to mid-Paleogene periods (230-40 million years ago). (2020-04-02)

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