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Archive for August, 2005

South American canopy ants, Cephalotes atratus when come in contact with foreign objects fall from branches of tall rain forest canopies. They however do not let gravity take them to the ground. They evade all the lurking predators on the ground by gliding and manoeuvre their fall towards the main trunk of the tree canopy they inhabit. Such stupendous navigating ability however isn’t restricted to Cephalotini tribe alone, but is present in the other solitary foraging arboreal subfamily of ants Pseudomyrmcinae. An interesting common feature amongst ants that exhibit gliding, is that their evolutionary origin arises from flooded forests. The necessity to avoid water and the fish predators might be one of the reasons for the evolution of this bizarre form of navigation in microscopic animals.

Watch ants gliding down trees in Peruvian rain forests
from Yanoviak et al, 2005. Nature 433: 624-626.

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