Results matching “individuality”

Individuality? (Ralph, East Tennessee)

I imagine every ant species in the world follows the same creed, "There's no 'I' in Team," but I can't help but wonder if there
might exist a species that supports, or promotes, individuality? Would scouts searching for food qualify, if not temporarily,
as individuals on a mission (inevitably for the greater good of the colony)?

Also, if you were to choose two of the nastiest, meanest looking, and most aggressive species of ant which would you choose?
Illustrations, if possible, would be great!

Thank you!

Ralph Glenn Styron, III
East Tennessee


Hi Ralph,

The question of individuality of ants is certainly an interesting one, which has definitely been asked before. Here you can find the most recent answer to this question asked by a Bulgarian sociologist. Additionally, this article recently came out which challenges the idea of worker equivalence and suggests experiential knowledge as an important factor in ant colonies.

In terms of a battle royale, I'd be interested in seeing Acanthognathus go after a Ecitoninae. The New World Ecitoninae are known for being the legionary ants par excellence with the mandibles to prove it, but the Acanthognathus are known as "trap-jaw ants", and can produce incredible amounts of force with their mechanism that controls their mandibles. For more info on trap-jaws, check out some of the current research being done in the Suarez Lab at University of Illinois.

Hope this helps!
Max Winston & the AntAsk Team

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:

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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