I just came back home a few hours ago from the airport and my aunt had peaches in her car full of ants. This made me wonder if the ants had joined us from the plane?

This leads to the question can ants can survive at high altitude?

  • $\begingroup$ mind that your title question differs from the final question. Surviving at high altitudes is not the same as surviving a plane trip. Conditions are very different. $\endgroup$
    – Scientist
    Aug 2, 2018 at 19:51

1 Answer 1


It depends on the altitude of the plane, species of ant, flight length, location in hold, and more, but generally yes, they should be able to survive. At such locations that a plane flies at, the temperatures range from 0 to -50 degrees Centigrade. At such extreme temperatures the ant's entire body system is brought to an almost complete stop, where their heart is barely beating, and nervous system barely functioning other than to tell the heart to beat, and other normal involuntary actions. This means they won't need to consume as much oxygen (because their slowed brain won't need as much) allowing them to survive with the minimal oxygen in the atmosphere.

  • $\begingroup$ But only jet planes fly in that altitude. Propeller planes fly low. Considering that the plane was transporting fruits, I don't think it would have allowed the temperature to drop to such low levels (that would have ruined the fruits). Regarding oxygen: I guess, since ants thrive in deep underground holes, they can tolerate low oxygen levels. $\endgroup$
    Jul 6, 2016 at 4:40
  • $\begingroup$ You have a point, but the same would apply on a smaller scale in a prop. plane, correct? @WYSIWYG $\endgroup$
    – ALX
    Jul 6, 2016 at 4:43
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't the pressure and temperature in the cabin controlled to some extent? $\endgroup$
    – Luigi
    Jul 6, 2016 at 22:21
  • $\begingroup$ There are several problems with the question, which prevent a clear answer. For example, the ants were perhaps most likely colonizers from the vicinity of the car and not plane. Specifically, it's unlikely that you transported a whole colony in a single peach (even if you got a queen, it would be a fairly slow process). Next, it's unclear if you mean crevice/outside of the plane, or inside the cabin (see comments above). It would also be helpful to tell which flight locations and species (roughly) were involved, in the case of cabin transport. $\endgroup$ Jul 6, 2016 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ Yes @Luigi But they were in the hold, not the cabin $\endgroup$
    – ALX
    Jul 7, 2016 at 23:46

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