Oops! Grab That Trunk: High-diving ants swing back toward their tree

12:53pm, February 9, 2005

Certain ants that live 30 or so meters up in tropical trees can save themselves in midair from ruinous falls by making moves previously known only in cheesy action films.

Much as a movie heroine tumbles off cliffs but routinely manages to grab something to stop her fall, the female worker ants of the species Cephalotes atratus guide their plunges so they typically veer into a tree trunk, according to Stephen P. Yanoviak of University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. The falling ants grip the trunk and then climb back home.

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