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BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR CHRISTINA HARTMAN
You're watching multisource science video news analysis from Newsy.
This story might make your skin crawl. Fire ants are known to group up and float when their nests get flooded. Now engineers are studying exactly how these ant-rafts are made. PopSci reports.
“Nobody has really bothered to study fire ants before, having been generally more interested in cursing at them and running quickly away from them... Turns out fire ants, when in groups, grasp onto each other using their mandibles, forming an intricate and precise pattern something like a Gore-Tex fabric.”
The ants’ clumping behavior lets them ooze like a thick liquid and also explains their watertight behavior.
The researchers started with a giant ball of ants, and dumped them in water. Within two minutes the ball flattened out into a raft. The researchers found the ants’ rough skin and tiny hairs were able to hold air pockets, making the raft impenetrable to water -- even when shoved down by a researcher’s tweezers. (Video source: Wired / Seattle PI)
At first glance, you might think the ants are sacrificing those on the bottom for the sake of those on the top, and that they could only float so long before they all drowned. Not so. These rafts can float for weeks, and Nature News says the arrangement works for everybody.
“Although the raft is porous and its base is below the water level, none of the ants are submerged, or even get wet. Instead, the ants at the base of the raft push against the water's surface and shape it around them into a bowl without breaking the surface tension.”
Even though the rafts are resilient, they aren’t entirely unsinkable. Just in case you ever need to defend yourself from a fire ant flotilla, Live Science quotes one researcher who lets us in on the rafts’ weakness.
“The ant rafts have their own kryptonite, however: soap. It and other... substances that break up surface tension of the water -- wreak havoc with the rafts. ‘If you introduce just a small amount of soap to the surface of the water to lower surface tension then the raft will begin to immediately sink.’”
The researchers say studying the way ants swarm can help engineers develop swarming robots. A bunch of simple robots working together could do complex tasks beyond the reach of a single, smart robot.
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Transcript by Newsy.
An incredible metal structure is made by pouring molten aluminum into a fire ant colony. The resulting cast is huge, weighing 17 lbs and reaching a depth of 18 inches.
fire ants transporting dead flys to the ant pile
10 sec stupid dumb ass vs Fire Ant
Visit us at *******apps.facebook****/pocketgod/?ref=metacafe to sacrifice some pygmies with fire ants.
To do so:
- Click on the anthill 3 times to bring more and more ants to the surface.
- Click again and draw a line from the anthill to the closest pygmy...
- Enjoy the gruesomely cute animation! :D
Get an ant's-eye view of a swarm of invasive Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta) and learn how to control them. Find more information about Texas wildlife
Casting a Fire Ant Colony with Molten Aluminum.
Casting a Fire Ant Colony with Molten Aluminum -
An incredible metal structure is made by pouring molten aluminum into a fire ant colony. The resulting cast is huge, weighing 17.9 lbs. and reaching a depth of 18 inches.
Even a 2 1/2 foot baby alligator can have a bad day. This poor little guy's day went from bad to worse. I was filming some shots for "Day at Alligator Creek" that day and saw a baby alligator sitting behind a car. He wanted it all to himself and chased away anybody who got close....including me. Once the car was moved (the owner of the car is the guy talking in the video) he decided to have a snack and found out that a nest full of fire ants isn't willing to share.......
Home & Garden Expert, Lisa Quinn, shows how you can rid and safeguard your home from household ants, fire ants, cockroaches and grubs, by identifying and treating pest hotspots and utilizing a new website from DuPont, called www.callyourpro****.