The Anternet is always up. On the surface, ants and the Internet don't seem to have much in common. But two Stanford researchers have discovered that a species of harvester ants determine how many foragers to send out of the nest in much the same way that Internet protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for the transfer of data. [more inside]
"You've seen ants. Thousands of them. And most of the time, you've seen them in colonies, living as a group. But have you seen them float as a group? Apparently a single fire ant will struggle in water, but a cluster of them can bob happily for months. A new study has used time lapse photography to figure out why — and how — that is."
Mark "Dr. Bugs" Moffett is a Harvard educated entomologist, author and ecologist. He's also one hell of a nature photographer, mainly studying Frogs and Ants (slideshow with audio). Galleries from Frank Pictures, The Smithsonian, and a slideshow and recent interview from NPR's Fresh Air.
If a young worker attempts to reproduce, she is spreadeagled by her fellows and kept immobilized for hours or even days. At the end of her sentence, the best she can hope for is a reduction in rank and loss of reproductive capability. Often she is mutilated or killed.Fascinating article about police-state behavior in insects, complete with information on mutant anarchist worker bees, ant-led coups, and parasitic self-cloning bees. (via BoingBoing.)