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Scientists Find 'Super Cool' Way to Spy on Insects
'Super Cool' Mapping
Tracks Down Tiny Invaders

'Super Cool' Mapping Tracks Down Tiny Invaders

Airborne laser mapping could speed tracking of invasive insects, study finds

(Newser) - Scientists in search of insects can spend 1,000 hours checking roughly 10,000 trees across 40 acres. Or, with a more convenient approach, they can do the same in about an hour. More and more, researchers are turning to remote sensing technology to ease the burden of searching landscapes...

The Number of Ants on Earth Is Basically 'Unimaginable'

Try 20 quadrillion

(Newser) - If you've ever dealt with an ant invasion in your kitchen and bemoaned the number of ants that seem to exist, a new study can bring some specificity to your complaints. As Science reports, there had been no reliable estimate of the number of ants currently on the planet....

Meet the Fastest Ant in the World
Meet the Fastest
Ant in the World
new study

Meet the Fastest Ant in the World

Saharan desert ant moves at the equivalent of more than 400mph for humans

(Newser) - National Geographic compares it to a "tiny, glinting missile." The Guardian notes that the rate of its stride is more than 10 times faster than that of the fastest human, Usain Bolt. The hubbub is in honor of the Saharan silver ant, which researchers have just discovered...

These Might Be the Only Non-Human War Medics

Researchers observe Matabele ants licking wounded warriors back to health

(Newser) - A species of African ant lives a life so fierce that it's become expert at wartime triage. In fact, the behavior exhibited by Matabele ants marks the first time that non-humans have been observed "systematically nursing their wounded back to health," per National Geographic . Researchers lay it...

We've Just Entered the World of Mutant Ants

Scientists for the first time alter their behavior by manipulating genes

(Newser) - Scientists have successfully altered a major behavior of two species of lab ants by deleting a single gene. As the Washington Post reports, the journal Cell has just published two papers chronicling the journeys of the first so-called mutant ants. One team reports on how one mutation removed a key...

After the Battle, Army Ants Leave No Soldier Behind

Many ants injured in battle are saved by being carried back to the colony

(Newser) - A new study provides the first evidence that ants rescue members of their own colony post-battle even when those ants aren't in imminent danger, reports the Guardian . The observation came about when biologist Erik Frank was watching army ants march out to battle termites in highly patterned formation—"...

3M Years Before Humans, Ants Were Farmers

Fijian ants have long built farming cities to plant and harvest fruit crops

(Newser) - If the emergence of agrarian practices is seen as a mark of intelligence in humans, then ants can boast some serious smarts. Not only have researchers discovered a highly organized type of farming in Fiji ants—who plant the seeds of fruit trees, fertilize and protect them, harvest the resulting...

In Abandoned Cold War Bunker, a Determined Colony Survives

Ants keep falling down an old rusted-out pipe in old Soviet nuclear weapons bunker

(Newser) - Call it the road to nowhere. Scores of wood ants living near an old nuclear weapons bunker in western Poland plunge seemingly to death each year—and their descendants follow them—in a bizarre ritual that has amazed scientists. The story begins with hard-working ants that built a colony atop...

Ants Have Toilets, Too
 Ants Have Toilets, Too 

Ants Have Toilets, Too

Humans by no means invented waste management

(Newser) - Humans aren't the only species to have waste management down. Naked mole rats, honeybees, and spider mites have all developed various means of disposing of waste, with piles of poo typically forming outside their living quarters. Now researchers in Germany are reporting in the journal PLOS ONE that black...

When Exploring, Ants March to the Left, to the Left

Scientists are exploring this 'behavioral lateralization'

(Newser) - Roughly nine in 10 humans are right-handed, an example of "brain lateralization" that's pretty common among vertebrates—and now apparently invertebrates. Researchers in the UK are finding that even ants—which are invertebrates, meaning they have exoskeletons—carry an innate directional bias, in their case almost always turning...

Does Another Species Already Rule the Earth?

Rats and ants are contenders; others may rise up

(Newser) - Humans have been ruling Earth for a while now, but are we just a flash in the pan? Scientists are analyzing other species and asking whether any will eventually take over should we perish by plague, climate change, war, famine, you name it. Or perhaps one already dominates without our...

Ants Sacrifice Their Young During Floods

But other species, like bees and tamarins, will do the same

(Newser) - Guided by evolution, most species protect their young and let older ones die off in a crisis—right? Not in the case of ants, according to a study in PLoS One . When water washes out an ants' nest, the vulnerable larvae and pupae become life rafts, and queens are allowed...

Invasive 'Stowaway' Ants Far Worse Than We Knew

Invasive species are establishing colonies around the world

(Newser) - "Stowaway ants" are making their way around the world in higher numbers than previously thought—and some of them are rather nasty, according to Spanish scientists. Most of the insects are transported in ships and planes amid plants, wood, fruit, and soil, and about 85% of the introduced species...

World's Tiniest Fly Beheads Tiny Ants

Found in Thailand, E. nanaknihali smaller than a grain of salt

(Newser) - It's the tiniest fly species known in the world, smaller than a grain of salt, and apparently it likes to eat ant heads, reports LiveScience . Euryplatea nanaknihali, a newly discovered species from Thailand, is from a fly genus known for decapitating ants and is believed to attack some of...

‘Monstrously Big’ Ants Once Roamed America

Biggest-ever US ant fossil unearthed in ancient lake sediments in Wyoming

(Newser) - The fossil of an ant queen the size of a hummingbird has been found in lake sediments in Wyoming. The 2-inch-long ant is the biggest ever found in the US, and the newly identified species is one of the largest to have ever lived, reports LiveScience . Researchers say the "...

'Zombie Ants' Found in Brazil
 'Zombie Ants' Found in Brazil 

'Zombie Ants' Found in Brazil

Fungus takes over brain, forces ants to relocate

(Newser) - First, the fungus takes over the ant’s brain. Then, it uses “mind control” to force the ant to move to a new location—an ideal location where the fungus can grow and its spores can spread. Finally, the fungus kills the ant—and then grows out of its...

Crazy Ants Swarm Gulf Coast
Crazy Ants Swarm
Gulf Coast 

Crazy Ants Swarm Gulf Coast

Tiny, frenetic munchers invade homes, snack on electrical wiring

(Newser) - Billions of "crazy ants" are munching their way through Gulf Coast counties in Florida and Texas, the Wall Street Journal reports. The tiny insects, believed to have originated in the Caribbean, happily make their homes in human dwellings and are tough to dislodge once they move in. The...

Who Needs Males? Not Self-Cloning Tropical Ants

(Newser) - Are men really necessary? Not if you’re a Mycoceperus smithii ant. Researchers have discovered that the tropical ant species is comprised entirely of females, the BBC reports. A colony’s queen will clone itself, producing only daughters. Though such sex-free reproduction is common in the ant world, this is...

Crazy Ants Munch Through Houston

Shocking new ants species chewing up electrical equipment

(Newser) - Houston, you have an ant problem. Billions of ravenous ants have invaded the city and are chomping their way through the city's electrical equipment, causing shorts and failure, AP reports. The previously unknown species—dubbed "crazy raspberry ants"—apparently arrived in Texas on a cargo ship. The invading...

Cheating, Corruption Rampant in Ant Society

Secret elite exploits workers with its DNA

(Newser) - A power-mad elite is secretly rigging the system so their offspring rise to power, LiveScience reports. That’s the situation a team of researchers has discovered in ant society—not exactly the epitome of community collaboration once thought. Until now, it appeared that any properly-fed larvae could hatch into a...

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