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Rare Ant Antics Go Viral

Allison Ludtke / Khmer Times Share:
Screen shot of a video posted to Liveleak showing ants "daisy-chaining" themselves to drag a millipede back to their nest. (Photo: Internet)

PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – A startling video of ants exhibiting rare behavior as they haul food back to their colony has gone viral on the Internet.
The video shows dozens of Leptogenys, a species of ant found in tropical and subtropical areas, “daisy-chaining” their bodies in parallel lines in order to drag a millipede  nearly 10 times their size back to their nest. Researchers and viewers were astounded by the image of the tiny 16 mm-long ants hauling the massive 130 mm-long millipede.
The 28-second video has received over 250,000 plays and 13,000 Facebook shares since it was uploaded to video-sharing site LiveLeak on August 27.
US-based wildlife photographer and entomologist Alex Wild commented on the video on his blog. He discussed the impressive ability of ants to carry much-larger objects, though admitted: “I didn’t find any explicit description of workers linking up, mandible to abdomen, to pull together.”
Yet, oddly enough, this rarely-seen behavior has been witnessed before in Cambodia.
Responding to Wild’s blog post, Christian Peeters, an ecologist and expert on ant behavior, said he witnessed this unusual behavior during a visit to Cambodia four years ago. He also attached photos and stated that this rare behavior only happens at certain times of the year.
Wild joked back that this “will make a fine Ph’D thesis for some lucky student.” It could also give aspiring entomologists a new incentive to travel to the Kingdom.

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