Nasty Fire Ants’ Tunnels could be helpful to Design Rescue Robots
The aggressive red fire ant Solenopsis invicta has become a worry in the southern United States. They are spreading like wildfire and causing burning stings to unfortunate victims.
Researchers spying on the ants' underground chambers have revealed that their tunnel building is based on a simple universal rule. The discovery was published on Monday by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study will provide the insight to the scientists to build search-and-rescue robots.
The ants are native to the Pantana wetlands of South America. About 80 years ago, the ants somehow hitched a ride to Mobile, Alabama. They then spread from there throughout the Southeast and jumped to other countries through the United States.
It is not been figured out yet that how the ants first got into the U. S. However, the ants are now known to have a remarkable ability to form a ball of sorts in times of flood, which allow them to ride waterways to new homes.
Study coauthor Daniel Goldman, a Georgia Tech physicist said that they nobody likes fire ants.
"Our hypothesis is that the ants are creating their environment in just the right way to allow them to move up and down rapidly with a minimal amount of neural control", said Dan Goldman, an associate professor in the School of Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and one of the paper's co-author. The ants use their antennae for locomotion in confined spaces to sense their environment.
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