- Gliding ant
Gliding ants are
arboreal ants of several different genera that are able to control the direction of their descent when falling from a tree in order to land on the trunk before reaching the unfamiliar and potentially hazardous understory.
All species in the genus "
Cephalotes" that have been tested to date show this ability, as do many species of " Pseudomyrmecinae", and some other groups.
Some ants voluntarily jump or drop off trees in response to disturbance, secure in the (genetic) knowledge that they have an 85% chance of landing successfully on the same tree, as opposed to 5% if they were simply parachuting like normal ants.
During a fall, gliding ants use visual cues to locate tree trunks. Specifically, they orient to light-colored columnar objects that sharply contrast the darker background of foliage in the forest. Tropical trees often have light-colored bark and frequently are covered with white lichens, thus they provide the most conspicuous targets.
Flying and gliding animals
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