Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ants Die Alone has an enlightening look at how ants, sensing their own death, leave their peers voluntarily, choosing to die alone rather than possibly spreading their infection to others in the nest.

Heinze and Walter reared a colony of ants (Temnothorax unifasciatus) in the laboratory, and then exposed them to spores of a parasitic fungus (Metarhizium anisopliae) that kills ants. They discovered that most infected worker ants deserted the nest in the hours or even days before they died and made their way to a distant foraging area, where they died alone, away from the other workers. They left voluntarily, and were not forcibly removed by other worker ants.

Pretty impressive, considering that we can't even get 51 senators to agree that providing health insurance to our poorest, weakest citizens is the right thing to do.

I need to re-examine my fear of dying alone in a small, run-down apartment. Maybe it's the most altruistic thing I can do.

Image via Hellofoto!'s photostream on flickr

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please tell me what you think.