Ants colony

QR Codes help to discover ants colony social structure

Researchers from Lausanne University (Switzerland) managed to track career of workers ants. For this purpose it was necessary to watch movements of each ant, and also his relationship with other ants. The scientists went on a trick: they supplied insects with tiny tags with a QR code. Experimental colonies lived in the flat boxes – “apartments” covered from above with a transparent material. Special cameras round the clock watched movements of ants with different ages, and the computer on a QR code allowed watching each of one hundred insects. After the analysis of movements and social contacts of all ants, it was found out that in a working caste there are peculiar specializations. 40% of workers carried out all the time with a uterus and its posterity, 30% were the getters searching for food, and remained served as cleaners, and most often they could be found about garbage congestions. The duties at each ant changed with age. According to the researchers workers-nurses were the youngest, cleaners — are more senior, and getters were more senior also than that and others. That is the worker changed specializations: from the nurse to the getter. Even when the camera with posterity and an entrance to a colony settled down nearby, workers-nurses and workers getters all the same didn’t mix up with each other. Such division, probably, is necessary, for example, for prevention of epidemics. On the other hand, having own point of collecting, workers getters can communicate and transfer more effectively each other information, than if they had to look for the on all colony. Workers-cleaners, on the contrary, came across in different places of a nest, though most of all them was near garbage dumps. Yet, the authors are not ready to draw more global conclusions, but in the near future they are going to do similar observations over other types indifferent age of ants. Besides, scientists interests the question of how there is a change of specializations and whether the previous profession influences on time and procedure of such retraining.