Stinging ants are quite possibly the world's bossiest animals

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Ants are defined by their cooperation and teamwork...but one species is a huge jerk about it. Whenever these ants encounter a task they can't do on their own, they go back to their colony and essentially kidnap some help.

North Carolina State University researcher Benoit Guenard describes the species Pachycondyla chinensis and this never before seen behavior:

"I was doing some observation on their foraging behaviour and how they compete with other ants, when I noticed something very unusual. When a worker ant found a food source that was too large to carry on its own - like a cockroach - it would return to the nest, pick up another worker in its [jaws] and carry it to the food.


To test this strange behavior, Guenard put dead cockroaches into two separate boxes near some of the ants. In one box, he placed a single large dead cockroach that would be too large for a single ant to carry back, thus triggering this behavior. In the other, he just placed a bunch of small cockroaches that one ant could handle by itself. When Guenard then switched the two boxes, it took only five minutes for the ants to work out what was going on and adjust their behavior:

"They quickly learned to bring another worker to the cell that contained the large cockroach...So it seems that the first worker acts as a scout. It reaches the large food item and makes the decision that it's too big to carry alone and returns to the nest to recruit help. This foraging behaviour is novel in ants. No other species are known to recruit workers this way."


Via BBC News.