Ants social behaviour and individuality? (Svetoslav, Bulgaria)


Hello there, my name is Svetoslav, I am from Bulgaria and I study sociology, but not for this I am a fan of the ants. However, I have this question: What about ants individuality? We know so many interesting facts about their working together. But how would a single one act in different situations. What about ants and freedom?? If this is does not seem stupid enough, what about ants and spare time, do they do anything just for fun?


Dear Svetoslav,

Great questions! I will start by saying that for the most part, little is known.

For an interesting talk that addresses some of these questions, be sure to watch Dr. Deborah Gordon's (Stanford University) TED talk:

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/deborah_gordon_digs_ants.html

There have been a few experiments done that show that how an individual ant behaves alone can be quite different than when with colony members. In addition, several researchers have done work with wasps and bees that address these same kind of questions. If you are really interested in these questions, I would suggest to start looking through the social insect literature.

Also, you could try setting up your own "backyard" experiments!

Best of luck,
Corrie Moreau & the AntAsk Team

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