Ants' response to ill or dying members of the colony (Maureen, Montenegro)


Hi, I am in Montenegro and have been observing ants on our terrace. I have been watching an apparently dead ant being approached by another ant. It appears to prod the "dead" ant. This often prompts some movement. It is as if the ant is trying to revive the one which is "dead". This behaviour goes on for a number of minutes. Sometimes the ant is joined by another member of the group which also seems to be attempting resuscitation. If there is no success the ant carries the body away. Can you explain this behaviour for me.

Thank you, Maureen

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Dear Maureen,

Great questions! We have addressed similar questions about ants carrying other ants, both dead and alive, on AntBlog. You can find the answers to your questions in the following posts:

http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2010/08/do-ants-carry-away-dead-ants-tom-perris-ca.html
http://www.antweb.org/antblog/2010/07/why-do-adult-nestmates-carry-each-other-ken-poland-ohio-usa.html
www.antweb.org/antblog/2011/10/live-ants-perceived-as-dead-jon.html

Keep watching ants!
Corrie Moreau & the AntAsk Team

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