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29 votes
Accepted

Do ants really find the shortest path to a food source?

Short answer Do ants really find the shortest path to a food source? No! But they can find a decent path Longer answer Optimization algorithms are used to search through a possibility space that ...
Remi.b's user avatar
  • 68.1k
12 votes

Do ants really dispose of their own dead, and how/why?

Eating the dead makes far more likely you will catch whatever killed them. They transport and dispose of the dead for the same reasons we do, to reduce disease vectors. They dispose of their garbage ...
John's user avatar
  • 14.7k
6 votes

what species of ant is this?

Probably a Ponerinae. (Wikipedia, AntWiki) It's not the easiest picture to work with, but here's what I did. Going by the location we have the following distribution of ant species in South Australia ...
Mara's user avatar
  • 259
6 votes

How genetically similar are worker ants from the same colony?

Relatedness of ants within a colony vary from species to species (as different species may use different mating systems) and from colony to colony. I will consider a basic (simplified) model of a ...
Remi.b's user avatar
  • 68.1k
6 votes
Accepted

What is it about bleach that keeps Pharaoh ants away even after drying?

It's likely that the bleach (hypochlorite), which is a strong oxidizer, is destroying the trails more effectively than the vinegar. The mechanism of action here is the organic pheromone molecules, ...
bob1's user avatar
  • 12.3k
5 votes
Accepted

Do ants see, have brain?

Ants do have eyes, though how well (and even whether) they see depends on the ant. They also have brains. You aren't wrong to put quotes around "brain" since in many organisms the nervous system isn'...
Oosaka's user avatar
  • 3,245
5 votes
Accepted

Why are these ants moving as a pack?

This is a really wonderful phenomenon. Ants disperse far and wide, but when one of them finds food, it brings it back to the nest, and in doing so leaves a pheromone trail. The next scout follows this ...
Karl Kjer's user avatar
  • 7,663
4 votes
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How do parasites "reprogram" brains?

Not much is known about the mechanisms involved, but they do appear to differ significantly from parasite to parasite. I'll discuss a few different examples here, and try to provide as much ...
Astrid_Redfern's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

The emergence of Phengaris butterflies from ant nests

I've been emailing some of the various researchers who worked on the papers I've cited. Jeremy Thomas and Judith Wardlaw both took time out of their (probably very busy!) schedules to reply, and they ...
Astrid_Redfern's user avatar
3 votes

Are these images of carpenter ants?

Hmm, the picture that you shared has ants with a striped abdomen, a characteristic feature of Carpenter ants. (source: doyourownpestcontrol.com) Wikipedia seems to confirm the same thing. Carpenter ...
Twisted Genes's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Do ants have a "stay away" signal?

It is a long time since I set in a Computer Sci (AI) talk about this…. This explains it a bit. Once ants have eaten they return to the nest. On the way back to the nest they put down a scent. This ...
Ian Ringrose's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

Why do ants dig surface paths?

I don't have it with me, but the book Adventures among Ants by Mark Moffett, which I highly recommend if you're even vaguely interested in ants, describes the creation of paths such as this. Some ants ...
Oosaka's user avatar
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3 votes
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Do Pharaoh ants eat sealant?

The sealant in question is a self-curing expanding urethane foam, marketed under numerous brands and formulations in the US and Canada such as DuPont Great Stuff, Loctite Tite Foam, and DAP Touch 'n ...
MattDMo's user avatar
  • 15.3k
2 votes

Do ants feel pain?

In short, scientists usually conclude that pain is unlikely to be found in insects in the way it is defined in humans, but this is difficult or impossible to test directly. In humans, pain is often ...
Nakx's user avatar
  • 375
2 votes

Would a stray ant re-home into a foreign colony (of the same kind) and will the colony accept an alien ant?

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: Some species won't accept any other ant born in a different colony, ...
Noil's user avatar
  • 318
2 votes

Why are worker ants not clones of the queen?

why has evolution not produced perfect X can usually be answered by the correct mutations have not occured. evolution is about jury rigging good enough not perfection. you are assuming ant are free ...
John's user avatar
  • 14.7k
2 votes

Larger Ant in trail

I'm sorry to say so, but I suppose you are not very familiar with ants? I can't be completely sure since you have no picture, but the way you describe it, very possibly these 2 larger ants were '...
Kasper's user avatar
  • 92
2 votes

Can foraging worker ants become queens?

Workers cannot become "queens" because the development of a larvae into a worker or a queen happens during the larval stage, depending mainly on the food that the larvae is given. That being said, ...
Nakx's user avatar
  • 375
2 votes
Accepted

Do ants know the direct (approximately shortest) path to their nest from the food morsel?

Terms that may help you research are dead reckoning or path integration. From Wikipedia: In navigation, dead reckoning is the process of calculating one's current position by using a previously ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 45.9k
1 vote

Species identification: 2.5mm (3/32" or 1.5/8") brownish ant in highrise apartment

According to the pest control expert, the ants are likely pharaoh ants. It matches the description on the Wikipedia page in all respects: Colour Size Pervasiveness in indoor environments throughout ...
user2153235's user avatar
1 vote

identify this ant queen

There is only one segment between the thorax and the abdomen and the first segment of the abdomen is not elongated, which indicates this is a Formicinae. Because the head width is similar to the ...
Nakx's user avatar
  • 375
1 vote

Can someone help me identify this queen ant?

The small space between the thorax and the abdomen indicates this queen has only one petiole segment (no post-petiole). The large size and absence of an elongated first abdominal segment indicates the ...
Nakx's user avatar
  • 375
1 vote
Accepted

When is an ant colony at its loudest?

I believe you speak of some species of Formica spp., such as Formica polyctena (nest example) You should mind that (i) ants are not particularly noisy insects; (ii) ant nests are 3-dimensional ...
Scientist's user avatar
  • 318
1 vote

what species of ant is this?

This is a Formicinae or a Dolichoderinae. Myrmeciinae and Myrmicinae have two segments between the thorax and the abdomen, it is not the case here. The first segment of the gaster is elongated in ...
Nakx's user avatar
  • 375
1 vote

How do polygyne Carebara affinis or C. diversus (a.k.a. Pheidologeton affinis and P. diversus) colonies work?

I don't know about their polygyne nature, but carebara diversa queens are between 20-25mm and carebara affinis queens are between 14-16mm and are slightly lighter in colour. Hopefully that should help ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote

What species of ant is this, and is it a queen?

This ant looks very much like a Camponotus pennsylvanicus queen, but since it was found in a Belgian forest, I could be wrong. I am almost certain it is a Camponotus species though. I hope I could ...
Lyds's user avatar
  • 99
1 vote

Queen ant identification

The picture is unclear but this ant looks like a Solenopsis queen. Maybe a Solenopsis invicta! Sorry if I'm wrong, I've only ever kept Camponotus and Lasius queens. I hope this is helpful though
Lyds's user avatar
  • 99

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