To Survive South Carolina Floods, Ants Build Rafts from Their Own Bodies

By Fredrikson, Annika | The Christian Science Monitor, October 6, 2015 | Go to article overview

To Survive South Carolina Floods, Ants Build Rafts from Their Own Bodies


Fredrikson, Annika, The Christian Science Monitor


The mammoth floods in South Carolina have claimed the lives of fourteen people and left at least nine dams breached. But the water doesn't seem to be much of a problem for ants, who are building body rafts to stay afloat.

While reporting on the flood conditions, FOX Carolina reporter Adrian Acosta noticed that what he thought was a pile of mud, was actually moving. Upon closer inspection he realized the mass wasn't dirt, but an ant island.

Ants collective behavior is put to good use during floods, as the tiny creatures "link legs and mouths together, weaving a raft in a process that can take less than two minutes," says National Geographic.

This behavior is consistent with research done by scientists at Georgia Tech and the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

According to scientists at Georgia Tech, the ants weave so tightly that water cannot penetrate, allowing the ants to stay afloat for weeks at a time.

"The worker ants and brood were extremely resistant to submersion," say University of Lausanne researchers in a study released last February. …

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