Curtain drops after ants' final act | Science News

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Curtain drops after ants' final act

Securing the nest means death for some ants

By
3:39pm, September 29, 2008
A Brazilian ant colony leaves some members out in the cold each night — literally. Tasked with closing the nest door from the outside, these ants complete their final mission and wander off, never to be seen again, researchers report in the November American Naturalist.

Self-sacrifice for the sake of the colony isn’t unusual in social insects — individuals will often take one for the team, improving the chances that close relatives survive. But unlike a guard bee that dies after stinging an intruder, there is no blaze of glory for these ants. They are probably old workers that meet death alone after fulfilling the door-closing duty.

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