Scientists have discovered that ants will actually form rescue teams to go and save relatives that have become caught in traps. After hearing of reports about ants attempting these recue attempts, scientists put together their own study to test the theory.
Researchers took one ant from a colony and tied it up with a nylon thread and half buried it into a pile of sand. They stood by watching in amazement as other ants from the colony teamed up and worked together to free their trapped relative. The daring group slowly dug away at the sand and expose the threads of the nylon. They then bit at the threads until their comrade was free of the snare.
The researchers believe that the fellow ants know to go and rescue their relative because the struggling ant will release pheromones that call the other ants to them. When the other members of the colony smell these pheromones, they are alerted to their friend’s need and choose ants to form a team to go to the rescue.
Are you surprised by these ants’ selfless actions? Have you seen similar altruistic behavior in other insects?