Many woodland plants rely on ants to disperse their seeds; such seed dispersal increases the plant population's chance of survival. New research has recently demonstrated that ant-dispersed plants (myrmecochores) compete for ant dispersers by staggering seed release.
Ants Shape Thoraces to Match Tasks They Perform Science Daily (press release) Jan. 7, 2014 — Scientists have discovered that the specialization of queen and worker ants goes beyond the presence or absence of wings.
For the first time, researchers have discovered that at least in ants, animals can change their decision-making strategies based on experience. They can also use that experience to weigh different options.
While it can be fun to watch ants outside, or perplexing to find them in your house, one of the most exciting ways to study ants is to keep them in an ant farm so you can see all of the action that goes on underground. But before you can keep them in an ant farm, you have to collect them first!
Temperature, rainfall, soil composition, and sunlight may not be the only contributors to a plant's success. Ants, in their role as seed dispersers, may play an equally important part in determining whether a plant species thrives or fails.