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Forget butterflies and bees, box like an ant

Study measures speed of trap-jaw ant boxing

In a new study, entomologists at the University of Illinois and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences measured the speed at which different species of trap-jaw ants strike one another during antenna-boxing bouts. Understanding such fights for dominance within ant colonies can shed light on ant behavior and sociology.

Entomology and animal biology professor Andrew Suarez and colleagues measured how fast trap-jaw ants hit each other during antenna-boxing matches, which establish dominance within the colony.

"All social animals exhibit dominance behaviors of one kind or another,” said Andrew Suarez, University of Illinois entomology professor and animal biology department head. “In the case of social insects, we often focus on their chemical communication system, but in these ants the antennal boxing was too remarkable to ignore."

Read the full article at the Illinois News Bureau

Publication Date: 02/12/2016
Photo credits: Adrian Smith
Editor: Liz Ahlberg