These ants perform complex medical rescues for comrades injured while hunting

science news

A "no man left behind" approach is common among soldier on a battlefield, but the same is apparently true even for some of the smallest members of the animal kingdom. A new study reveals that a specific species of ant — the African Matabele ant, or Megaponera analis — has an impressively robust system of recovering and treating members of its group which become wounded in battle.

The researchers, who published their work in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, describe the behavior of ants which go on hunting expeditions in large groups. With hundreds of members, these groups seek out termites to attack, bringing the defeated insects back with them where the colony makes use of them. Inevitably, some ants are injured in battle, and that's when a system of social cues seems to dictate whether or not the injured warriors are given a new lease on life.

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These ants perform complex medical rescues for comrades injured while hunting originally appeared on BGR.com on Tue, 27 Feb 2018 at 19:34:34 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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