The Ant Daisy Chain, Described

You may remember a recent viral video showing an undescribed predatory ant behavior. It turned out that myrmecologists Christian Peeters and Stéphane de Greef had observed these ants in the field, but they’d not assembled enough data to publish, leaving us all in the dark about how the ants coordinated the amazing millipede-hauling chains.

With a bright internet spotlight on the behavior, Christian and Stéphane returned to the project and have just published a detailed description in Insectes Sociaux. The video alone is worth a thousand words:


source: Peeters C, De Greef S. 2015. Predation on large millipedes and self-assembling chains in Leptogenys ants from Cambodia. Insectes Sociaux doi: 10.1007/s00040-015-0426-2

Sunday Night Movie: Look Deep Into My Eyes

This hypnotic clip, taken by JerseyBug, is a glimpse into one of the most fascinating set of eyes among all animals, those of jumping spiders:

The spider’s anterior median eyes (the big ones) focus sharply and can even detect depth, but their abilities are limited by an extremely narrow field of vision. Spiders counteract the narrowness by moving some of the internal elements, allowing the animal to scan more broadly. Thus, the odd color changes in this jumper’s eyes are essentially the spider having a look about.

Sunday Night Movie: Trophallaxis

And now, a short video I made a few years ago:

Ants exchange food with each other far more frequently than nutrition requires. Liquid food-sharing, called trophallaxis, instead serves a communicative function, helping spread information among a colony’s workers. This video documents the behavior in a colony of captive Camponotus pennsylvanicus kept in a lab at the University of Illinois.