Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It's all about the pheromones, baby!!

As I was peeing for the thousandth time today, I saw four tiny ants on the bathroom floor. I bent to squash two with my pointer fingers. Then one of the ants that had been heading towards the (now dead) two turned and tried to get under the bathmat. And the fourth one just completely turned direction and tried to hurry away. Don't ants have some sort of way to communicate danger? It was a little eerie how quickly the still-alive ants tried to get away. Anyway, I googled "communication of ants" and got this:

Communication between members of a colony is almost entirely chemical, with some tactile communication.
Ants use pheromones to:
* recognise colony members
* mark trails to food/water sources
* determine caste
* signal attack and defence
Tactile communication is mainly used as requests for food between adults.

So pheromones from dying ants made one ant run under my bathmat, the other hurrying in the opposite direction along the baseboard. Creepy and fascinating, hm?

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