My layman’s observations of eusocial colonies (like ants) is that while individual ants are extremely cooperative, different swarms in aggregate tend to act aggressively towards other swarms. Are there organisms where entire swarms will collaborate or otherwise act prosocially with other swarms?

  • $\begingroup$ Closely related ant colonies do this. E.g fire ant colonies in Australia don’t attack each other. $\endgroup$ Aug 22 '21 at 2:44
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Are you using swarm interchangeably with colony? There are ant megacolonies. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Aug 22 '21 at 4:14

Argentine ants.


Global "mega-colony": The absence of aggression within Argentine ant colonies was first reported in 1913 by Newell & Barber, who noted “…there is no apparent antagonism between separate colonies of its own kind”. [8] Later studies showed that these “supercolonies” extend across hundreds or thousands of kilometers in different parts of the introduced range, first reported in California in 2000,[9] then in Europe in 2002,[10] Japan in 2009,[11] and Australia in 2010.[12] Several subsequent studies used genetic, behavioral, and chemical analyses to show that introduced supercolonies on separate continents actually represent a single global supercolony.[11][13]

The researchers stated that the "enormous extent of this population is paralleled only by human society", and had probably been spread and maintained by human travel.

This is true only in the introduced range. I read that in Argentina, this ant species is like any other and different colonies compete. A mutation led to the strain of ant that has colonized the world because of its cooperativity.

I was interested to read in the comment by @Polypipe Wrangler that fire ants from different colonies in Australia do not fight each other. Different fire ant colonies definitely fight each other in Florida.


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