Some Kinds of Coffee Are More Fragrantly Attractive to Ants

Humans are not the only animals that (in many cases) are attracted by the smell of coffee. This study focuses on ants’ attraction to coffee smells: “Olfactory behavior and response of household ants (Hymenoptera) to different types of coffee odor: A coffee-based bait development prospect,” Abdul Hafiz Ab Majid, Hamady Dieng, Siti Salbiah Ellias, Faezah […]

“Imagine if the window were made of ants…”

Ig Nobel Prize winner David Hu researches many questions that involve biology AND mathematics AND physics. And often, fluid dynamics. In this video, he confides, concisely, some of the biophysical ways that ants survive perilous, quickly-changing physical conditions: The 2015 Ig Nobel Prize for physics was awarded to Patricia Yang [USA and TAIWAN], David Hu [USA and TAIWAN], and […]

Ant men who really love their mother

This half-century-old song by Tom Lehrer seems—save for its failure to mention ants—to anticipate a study published this month about ants: “Virgin ant queens mate with their own sons to avoid failure at colony foundation,” Christine Vanessa Schmidt [pictured here], Sabine Frohschammer, Alexandra Schrempf, Jürgen Heinze, Naturwissenschaften, vol. 101, no. 1, January 2014, pp 69-72. […]

Literary experiment: An attine ant’s perspective on human farming

Sedeer el-Showk [pictured here] does what might be called a literary experiment: describing human agriculture from the perspective of “attine ants, a group of ants which have evolved a mutualistic relationship with certain fungi that can only be described as a form of agriculture”: In addition to the difficulties of communication, other biological limitations of humans […]