If ants can get along…

H/T to Daniel Florien for the second time today. He’s got a link to BBC’s article about a gigantic colony of Argentine ants that’s recognizable in Europe, Japan and California. More interesting is how they relate to each other:

Researchers in Japan and Spain led by Eiriki Sunamura of the University of Tokyo found that Argentine ants living in Europe, Japan and California shared a strikingly similar chemical profile of hydrocarbons on their cuticles.

But further experiments revealed the true extent of the insects’ global ambition.

The team selected wild ants from the main European super-colony, from another smaller one called the Catalonian super-colony which lives on the Iberian coast, the Californian super-colony and from the super-colony in west Japan, as well as another in Kobe, Japan.

They then matched up the ants in a series of one-on-one tests to see how aggressive individuals from different colonies would be to one another.

Ants from the smaller super-colonies were always aggressive to one another. So ants from the west coast of Japan fought their rivals from Kobe, while ants from the European super-colony didn’t get on with those from the Iberian colony.

But whenever ants from the main European and Californian super-colonies and those from the largest colony in Japan came into contact, they acted as if they were old friends.

Weird. As far as those ants were concerned, they were all part of the same clan, no matter how far a distance originally between them.

Of course, humans are to credit/blame for these ants getting everywhere. But it’s still interesting how they all tend to get along – so long as they’re all from this uber colony, anyway, and have the right look and smell. Nothing mentioned about how these kinds of ants relate to other types of ants, so perhaps not well.

Still, antomology entomology can be pretty cool, eh?

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