Researchers have documented how leafcutter ants process leaves into nutrients underground. The remarkable nimble ants rely on a division of labor to get food on the table and conserve energy, thus ensuring they remain healthy and strong – the better to suit the colony.
Ant colonies are complex systems built on the cooperation of individual members. When under the attack from a predator, ants work as a well coordinated "superorganism" to esnure the safety of the colony.
An entomologist recently looked at the story behind matricide among social insects, which isn't the standard but sometimes happens. It turns out that a pretty intricate plot is behind it. Stand back, MacBeth.
While the social roles some insects inhabit are set in stone, dinosaur ants and red paper wasps are far more flexible – and able to adjust their behaviors for varying responsibilities.
One species of ant looks like a worker on the outside, but a rise in dopamine levels triggers dramatic physical changes without affecting their DNA and results in warrior-like ritualized fighting behavior, according to a recent study published in The Journal of Experimental Biology.