The Ant Death Vortex

Here is an example of an ant death spiral, where a group of ants gets separated from their colony and start following each other by scent in a circle, and they do so until they all die of exhaustion.

[Via Reddit]


14 Responses to The Ant Death Vortex

  1. Sorry but thats bullshit. I keep exotic ants in huge terrariums for years and I'm very well informed about all kinds of ants. I never heard about something like this. Actually some species run in circles around objects or light. But only for a few minutes.Ants are one of the most efficient and logical organism on the planet. They don't do such stupid things, they will find back to the colony. And even if the queen is dead, they live until the last one died in natural ways.

  2. Regardless of your opinion, please reference Schneirla and his description of Army ants and Beebe who described a circular mill he witnessed in Guyana. It measured 1200 feet in circumference and had a 2.5 hour circuit time per ant. The mill persisted for two days. Informed or not, it's a phenomenon found in self organizing genomes, even reproduced in robotics.

  3. In college, I was tasked with modelling ant behavior using StarLogo, based on the book "Ants at Work" if I recall. In the book, the scent behavior was described. I *immediately* hit this problem, in two forms. First, if no ants were doing anything, none of the other ants would do anything else. To solve that, I would randomly assign a task to a few ants to get the ball rolling. The other problem I ran into was just this… the ant tasks could hit a critical mass so that all available ants were doing the same thing. While my model ignored the colony's true needs, it was clear that if every ant was guarding or food gathering (or whatever) things would fall apart quickly.

    Originally, I thought this disproved the author's theory, but now I see that I reinforced it, the ants just have a very bad (from an evolutionary standpoint) behavior under certain conditions.


  4. Very cool video, not sure what it has to do with geek's being sexy though.. the only thing geeky about this is some of the comments that have been posted. Still very cool. Stumble Upon has sent me here a few times. Look forward to reading more!

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