Them! – “Ant mega-colony takes over world” – BBC

Via Glenn at Instapundit, BBC Earth News:

A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world, scientists have discovered.

Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another. The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.

…In Europe, one vast colony of Argentine ants is thought to stretch for 6,000km (3,700 miles) along the Mediterranean coast, while another in the US, known as the “Californian large”, extends over 900km (560 miles) along the coast of California. A third huge colony exists on the west coast of Japan.

..it now appears that billions of Argentine ants around the world all actually belong to one single global mega-colony….

And they communicate with each other:

… further experiments revealed the true extent of the insects’ global ambition…They then matched up the ants in a series of one-on-one tests to see how aggressive individuals from different colonies would be to one another….

But whenever ants from the main European and Californian super-colonies and those from the largest colony in Japan came into contact, they acted as if they were old friends. These ants rubbed antennae with one another and never became aggressive or tried to avoid one another. In short, they acted as if they all belonged to the same colony, despite living on different continents separated by vast oceans.

“The enormous extent of this population is paralleled only by human society,” the researchers write in the journal Insect Sociaux, in which they report their findings….

July 2, 2009. Tags: , , , , . Film, Horror, Popular Culture, Sci Fi, Science.

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