Author Topic: Ants Use Themselves To Build Perfectly Efficient Living Bridges  (Read 749 times)

Offline josephpalazzo

Ants Use Themselves To Build Perfectly Efficient Living Bridges
« on: November 24, 2015, 11:53:59 AM »
In an experiment carried out in Panama by Christopher Reid of the University of Sydney, ants were given a zig-zagging path to follow (encouraged along by the pheromones they use to navigate) with gaps separating segments of the path. One ant would quickly sacrifice its body to bridge the small gap in the corner, and other ants would join to form a bridge that reduced the distance the line of gatherers had to march. As more ants latched on to one side of the bridge, improving the angle of the path for minimum distance, the ants on the unused side would untangle from the bridge and continue their march. The result is that the ant bridge moves down the gap, never widening or narrowing significantly, continuing to make the route shorter and shorter...

But at a certain point, they stop. As the gap they span lengthens, more ants are needed for the bridge, and fewer are available to carry food. But how do they know when they have hit the correct ratio for maximum food-gathering efficiency?

Reid hypothesizes that the ants decide whether or not to stay part of the bridge based on how often they are touched. If other ants are continuously flowing over them, they know to stay in the bridge. If they don't feel other ants frequently, they know they should let go and keep gathering food. This would also explain why ants on the far side of the bridge let go as the bridge travels away from them and the gatherers take the shorter route.

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Offline Baruch

Re: Ants Use Themselves To Build Perfectly Efficient Living Bridges
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2015, 07:14:29 PM »
This phenomenon would be observed with human males on HS and college campuses (human ant farms) ;-)  After that, the wife-mones overwhelm the pheromones ;-))
luu shalmaata luu balt’aata
May you be well, may you be healthy


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