Fire ants can endure floods by adjoining their bodies together to make substantial floating rafts. Now researchers at Georgia Tech have displayed that fire ants can actively sense changes in forces acting upon the float under various fluid conditions and acclimatize their behavior accordingly to perpetuate the stability of the raft. Hungtang Ko stated their work at a meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics, help in Seattle before the Thanksgiving Holiday. Fire ants give a textbook example of combined behavior. A few ants spaced well aloof behave like individual ants. But pack enough of them nearly together, and they act more like a single unit, displaying both solid and liquid properties. Fire ants also exceed at regulating their traffic flow.
Any single and has a particular amount of hydrophobia that is, the capability of repelling water. This property got intensified when the adjoining together, weaving their bodies like a waterproof fabric. They collect up any eggs, make their way to the surface through their tunnels in the nest, and as the flood water increase, they will chomp down on each other’s bodies with their claws and mandibles, until a plane raft-like structure form. Fire ants can do this in less than 100 seconds. Moreover, anti-raft is self-healing. It is sturdy enough that if it wastes an ant here and there, the overall formation can stay stable and whole.
Ko works in the bio locomotion lab of David Hu at Georgia Tech, that looks after not just the combined behavior of fire ants, but also water snakes, striders, mosquitoes, and various climbing insects. Even on the unique properties of cat tongues and animal bodily functions like defecation and urination. Fire ants in a raft also pursue more if the raft is stationary. Usually extending out horizontally, but also vertically, forming temporary tower-like structures in hopes of searching a hanging branch to grab for getting back to dry land. There will be a lot less explorative behavior if the ant raft is weaving in response to shear forces.