This fossil of an ancient winged ant queen was recently discovered along the banks of the Flathead River in Montana. It’s the first of its kind ever discovered, and it’s forcing scientists to rethink when these creatures first appeared on Earth.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found a way to modify the behavior of carpenter ants using epigenetics—the science of how a gene gets turned into a physical body part or a character trait. They reported their findings last week in the journal Science. Are you ready to be a Beastmaster?
Your future windows, walls, and possibly boats will be made of ants — or at least of an ant-like substance. New research shows why ants classify as both a solid and a liquid, and why they’d make the best self-repairing building material.
A colony of ants can teach us something about how an idea spreads through social networks.
This is a worker ant of the newly-discovered species Carebara lilith. You may notice that it has an absolutely enormous noggin. Why?
Hot sauce is one of those universal truths that different cultures from all over the world have realized is so completely awesome. Everybody has their own preference and people use different peppers and make their hot sauce at varying levels of spice and heat but all hot sauce is good. Even this hot sauce made with…
Take a moldy Cheerio. Add a team of longhorn crazy ants and... suddenly you no longer have a moldy Cheerio. So how do they manage to make off with it so efficiently given they’re notoriously disorganized?
KQED’s excellent science series Deep Look (previously here, here, and here—can you tell we’re fans?) just kicked off a new run of videos with an episode about how ants use leaves to harvest fungus. Which, sure, fungus harvesting is fascinating in its own right, but wait until you find out what the ants are harvesting…
They build cities. They farm. They make war. Ants do a lot of things that seem uncannily human — and yet they’re profoundly alien, part of a hive mind called a social organism. What does that feel like to each individual ant? Now a new scientific paper suggests that there is always doubt in the hive mind.
Here’s an interesting look at the life of leafcutter ants, the tiny little farmers of the world. They cut off the leaves of trees and essentially use it to farm the fungus they need to feet their little ant colony. It’s an impressive undertaking, carrying the leaves as they do is the equivalent of humans carrying more…
I really enjoyed this video from Shiva Kumar and Siddharth Manugula about tracking the life of ants. It turns them into a video game of sorts, with battery life meters and Wi-Fi signaling and objectives and goals. It's also fun to see 'human' things get digitally imposed into their world like street lamps and mini…
I don't know why I'm so mesmerized. Maybe because the ant looks positively alien from up close. Or maybe because I wish I could suck out and deflate the water I drink like a balloon letting out air instead of having to pour it in me like fuel. Whatever it is, it sure makes for a nice GIF.
Ants are incredible little creatures, known especially for their complex societies and teamwork, but we've never quite seen them work together like this. In this video, the speed of the internet meets the deliberateness of the scientific enterprise and reveals the limitations of each.
It's always incredible to see ants work as a team by stringing their bodies together like a rope to pull something much heavier back home. It looks a lot like what us humans would do when we're trying to move something big. Ants, they're just like us!
The "bone house" wasp (Deuteragenia ossarium) is named so because the newly classified species of spider wasp has adopted a unique method of protecting their nests—they simply fill the front hall with ant corpses.
A writhing mass of fire ants floating across the water is thing of horror and a marvel of engineering. But how do you study the architecture of ever-squirming ants? By flash-freezing them and coating in glue, as scientists did for a recent study. Ant rafts, it turns out, are more complicated than you might think, and…
Where on Earth is this freaky lava pool? Why do people hate love locks? Is it true that fire ants love the suburbs? And what do the soon-to-be-lost sounds of the industrial age sound like? All your answers are here, in this week's landscape reads!
The New York Times has a great little short about ants, specifically their ability to both flow like a liquid and become a solid ball. It's kind of gross but also pretty awesome in how twisted the duality is. Look at it above. On the left, it's a thick, syrupy liquid. On the right, it's a tight rubber ball.
Feisty parrots, alien cockroaches, crazy ants, and cats bearing frankincense and myrrh. It's an all-animal edition of What's Ruining Our Cities!
This is unbelievable, but the fruit fly G tridens has somehow evolved to have what looks like pictures of ants on its wings. Seriously, its transparent wings have an ant design on them complete with "six legs, two antennae, a head, thorax and tapered abdomen." It's nature's evolutionary art painted on a fly's wings.