Why Do Ants Get Lonely?
During the cold winter months, ants are known to form small colonies, called nests, and seek warmth in a warm environment. They build their nests in lawns, cracks in the pavement, and other areas of their home.
In addition to these social gatherings, ants also gather food. This food is stored in a special internal organ called a crop. These ants then share the food with other nestmates.
Ants also use sound and touch to communicate with other ants. Their communication is also aided by a specialized pheromone called the alarm pheromone. This pheromone travels the fastest and encourages other ants to act immediately.
Ants living in a crowded community can live up to 66 days, while ants that live alone can only last six days on average. The study found that ants that were socially isolated lived 91 percent less than those that were not.
The Mainz research group, in collaboration with researchers from the Tel Aviv University in Israel, has conducted an investigation into the social well-being of ants. The study is published in Molecular Ecology. The research team also found that ants living in isolation had less active immune system genes.
These findings may lead to new insights into the molecular mechanisms behind ants’ social behaviors. In the future, researchers plan to analyze gene expression profiles in order to pinpoint the genes that play a role in ants’ socially induced behavior changes.
Moreover, ants that are socially isolated are unable to digest food properly. As a result, they are at a higher risk for developing parasites and addictions.