The oldest military ant in the world

It had been part of Harvard University’s collection of insects fossilized in amber for 80 years, when the researchers Get to know her Being a legion ant. What makes it The oldest representative of this species. Moreover, as it was discovered in Europe, this supposes that this insect, blind and adept at the art of war – hence its name – was widespread in Europe at that time, while it has disappeared there today.

Unlike most groups of ants, this ant is devoid of eyes, which does not prevent it from moving in large groups, each following the chemical path of the others. A coordinated attack could account for tens of thousands of ants, to the point of having an effect on insect populations that live nearby. These ants are also distinguished by the fact that they only have one part of the abdomen, and the entire colony can move around, rather than live in a permanent place.

There is no guarantee that a colony of this ant had exactly the same behavior as colonies of African or South American army ants today. But the genetics of the 200 identified legionnaire ant species tend to trace most of those species from the two continents to a single common ancestor, who lived about 100 million years ago, before the continents separated. The researchers hypothesized so far That they simply did not occupy Europe, but, on the contrary, may have occupied the continent at a time when it was much warmer and wetter.

Although other fossilized ants of various species have been found in amber over the centuries, researchers have so far only identified one other military ant, 16 million years old. in the Dominican Republic.

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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