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Skinny searchers keep fat ants full

Insect-sized garage-door openers help researchers uncover colony foraging strategy

Using tiny key cards glued to ants’ backs, researchers have figured out how colonies manage their food stores: A body weight–based strategy determines who’s doing the hunting and when.

To test the relevance of body weight and experience in foraging, researchers saddled ants (Temnothorax albipennis) with electronic tags smaller than a pinhead and installed a mini automatic door in the colony’s nest to control who could leave.

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