Gliding Ants Can Direct Their Descent if They Fall From a Tree

Posted on June 25, 2011

Gliding ants build nests in trees in the Amazon. The unusual ant is able to glide if it happens to fall from a tree. This video shows a regular ant and a gliding ant being dropped from a tree. The non-gliding ant falls nearly straight down, while the gliding ant easily steers itself toward another tree. Take a look:



Smithsonian Science says the ants gliding ability is called Directed Aerial Descent (DAD). The directed ascent enables the ant to land back on tree and avoid the dangers that may exist on the forest floor.

The ants were also put in a wind tunnel to see how they are able to glide. The ants flip on their back and hold their legs elevated and outstretched. The ants also lower their gaster (bottom) slightly. The researchers say this is similar to what human skydivers do. Take a look:



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