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Let's say an ant got into my pocket as I was sitting in the park today. At home, I shook off my coat and the ant fell out and scurried out to my garden, which has ant colonies of the same kind.

Would the ant try to assimilate into that colony and would the colony accept it? How would each know about the other's non-relation?

Thanks

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    $\begingroup$ Ant behavior is controlled by pheromones. They do not "know" things but an ant from a different would be recognized as a source of energy and probably killed and eaten. $\endgroup$
    – waltjh
    Jul 9, 2017 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ With fairly high confidence, the ant would probaly be accepted. While normally ants live in colonies, you can move ants between colonies as long as they are part of the same supercolony. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant_colony $\endgroup$ Jul 9, 2017 at 23:07

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If they are from a different species, they won't accept each other.

If they are from the same species, it depends of the species:

  1. Some species won't accept any other ant born in a different colony, such as Lasius Niger
  2. Some species form a supercolony which can gather ants from the same species over hundreds or thousands of kilometers, such as the Argentine ant on the coast from Spain to Italy.

To know more about ants, I advice this excellent book: Wilson et Hölldobler, The Ants, Belknap Press, 1990, (ISBN 9780674040755)

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