Phenomena

Escaping the Flood

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Fire ants clump together into giant rafts to stay alive during floods. But these rafts won’t form with just any number of ants. Researchers found that individual ants will actually kick one another away. It’s not until there are about ten ants that the raft formation becomes stable. In this video, the team lays out their experiments and models for fire ant rafting, showing that capillary action helps draw the raft together and individual ants’ activity can destabilize rafts if they’re too small. (Image and video credit: H. Ko and D. Hu)

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