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Ants build hanging bridge to attack wasp nest

Attack of legionary ants to a wasp honeycomb. Impressive the level of swarm intelligence and collective computation to form that bridge.

Astonishing footage captures the moment a million army ants worked together to build a bridge designed to help invade a giant wasp nest.

The highly organized ants were captured on camera in Brazil by an electrical engineer, Francisco Boni.

Boni wrote on Twitter:

“Attack of legionary ants (also known as army ants or marabunta) to a wasp honeycomb. Impressive the level of swarm intelligence and collective computation to form that bridge.”

It has gained thousands of retweets and likes.

The engineer explained that when this type of attack” happens, the wasps usually abandon their nests and escape. He added that the ants do not leave until they’ve completely looted the honeycomb, carrying pupae, larvae, and eggs, as well as some adults who did not manage to escape. “They can even build across the water,” said Boni, sharing separate images of the army ants forming a shape above the water that is titled a little.

The Brazilian engineer said, that at first, he thought that it was “merely a failure mode” that happened when the ants decided to build the bridge. Or that there was something affecting the trail pheromones as the bridge was tilted. But then, a biologist pointed out that these species of ants have a hard time walking upside down.

And so, it is more effective for the ants to form the trail that goes down first and then up rather than an inverted upside-down walk. Also likely that upside down the ants can’t carry significant loads,” he explained. Aggressively foraging through the densely forested areas for food, these soldier ants move in millions and can kill birds, beetles, critters, lizards, snakes, goats, and other reptiles insects and animals in their path. Some tropically located species may pose threat to humans.

What Happens To Honey Bees?

“When this type of attack happens, the wasps usually escape and the ants do not leave until they’ve completely looted the honeycomb, carrying pupae, larvae and eggs, as well as some adults who did not manage to escape. They can even build across the water!”

Bonnie explained the use of the bridge for the ants, saying: “For ants, it is more effective to follow the trail over a bridge that goes down and then up than in an inverted upside down walk.

“Also likely that upside down the ants can’t carry significant loads.”

“Legionary ants” is a term that covers over 200 ant species.

They are generally characterized by their aggressive foraging techniques

Why does the bridge not break?

In a separate hypothesis, a user Diego Gernhofer explained that the ants probably started as a straight path and eventually were joined by other ants. As gravity pulled the whole bunch down, the bridge took the shape of the hanging bridge, but it doesn’t end up breaking due to linear tension. “So the first minutes they built the bottom part which is less vertical, and then added on the extremes on necessity,” he said. Many viewers pointed out that the ants’ bridge was perhaps a catenary curve.

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