Africa's Biggest Mammals Key To Ant-plant Teamwork
Throughout the tropics, ants and Acacia trees live together in intricate interdependent relationships that have long fascinated scientists. Now researchers are reporting that in Africa, this plant-insect teamwork depends on the very antagonist it is intended to ward off: Africa's big browsing mammals.
How social contact with sick ants protects their nestmates
Micro-infections have been found to promote social vaccination in ant societies. Like crowded megacities, ant colonies face a high risk of disease outbreaks. These are kept in check by the ants’ "social immune system"— a set of collective hygienic behaviors and adaptive changes in interaction frequencies that acts in conjunction with the physiological, innate immune system of colony members.