Mar 4, 2009

Ant Vortex

I get very antsy (pardon the pun) whenever I catch wind of ants doing something unusual. I think that if ever there were a creature who could supplant us as the dominant species on the planet, it's ants. In fact, I don't know why they haven't yet.

Milton took this video while at a youth camp a few months ago. Anyone know why they're whirling about in a vortex? Or they summoning something? Channeling some sort of bad voodoo to unleash against their human oppressors?

Thanks Milton. A year from now, people may look back on this footage as the first warning we had that ants were making their bid for global dominance.

UPDATE: Trevor believes this might be an instance of circular milling, aka the ant death spiral.

11 comments:

jenjen said...

They ARE the dominant creatures on the planet. We just don't believe it.

Cindy said...

That's really bizarre. I'm sure there's a scientific explanation for it, but until someome provides it, I'll go for the silly answer and say it looks like somebody flushed the sidewalk!

Ollybeth said...

"Where are we going?"

"I dunno, I was following you!"

Katie said...

Ah, I love when scientists move the pheromone trail. Leaf cutter ants (and most others) leave pheromone trails to help lead the rest of the colony towards a new location, more food, etc. You can "trick" the ants by laying out pheromones in a circle. All subsequent ants will then follow that circle, marking as they go as well, causing what looks like a vortex.

That might be what's happening here.

Anonymous said...

I hear they go the other way in Australia.

Raging Wombat said...

Yes, just like toilet bowls. They have to.

Trevor said...

http://theantroom.blogspot.com/2006/11/ant-death-spiral.html

Circular Milling is something that can affect Army Ants. Perhaps other ants have a similar glitch?

Anonymous said...

circle pit!

Anonymous said...

I think they got stuck in the 80's, They're doing the neutron dance.

Anonymous said...

If the insects could organize themselves, we would have been taken over long ago!

ghardym said...

This article suggest it might be related to a food source and is called Levy-looping.

http://iopscience.iop.org/0295-5075/82/2/20001