There are tiny tropical flies that turn fire ants into zombies with larvae that eat the ant's brain. But wait: This fly story gets even better. Researchers have discovered a related group of female flies that bite off ant heads and then haul them away for dinner.
Little did you know that humans were not the first farmers. A lineage of ants based in South America has been known to cultivate their own food using a selective process that produces a high-yield fungus. Now researchers have found that not only have these ants been doing this for the greater part of 50 million years, but they have actually improved the practice over time.
For the past two weeks, I have been at war against a seemingly endless pint-size army. "The Argentine ant is a species introduced to our environment - and it has invaded our ant fauna," said Brian Fisher, curator of entomology at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.
Smithsonian Science This Ant Species May Support a Controversial Theory on Evolution Smithsonian (blog) German researcher Christian Rabeling was digging up ant colonies on a college campus in Brazil when he found something unexpected—certain ants...
Research on the impact of ants on their local environment has revealed they play an important role. They have a dual effect on their local ecosystem which affects both the density and diversity of other species around them, including animals much higher up the food chain.
"If we were to weigh all the ants in the world, they would weigh as much as all of the people," said wildlife presenter Chris Packham recently in BBC Four's The Wonder Of Animals: Ants. But is this statement true?