Gliding ant

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.

References


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See also

* Flying and gliding animals

External links

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