Ants: 3600-mile Super Colony!

I just saw this article, wherein it’s revealed that European researchers have located what they believe to be the largest co-operative insect colony, ever. A 3600-mile Super Colony of Argentinian Ants.

How do the researchers determine that these are, in fact all co-operative colonies, and not just off-shoots of one very successful genetic line? How do they determine that subsidiary colonies are in fact linked-to, and participant-in, the Super Colony? At what point does genetic drift start breaking a Super Colony apart?

What impact does a successful super colony have on local bio-diversity and viability of local flora/fauna? Is it a Good Thing, a Bad Thing, or just a curiosity?

Can you use SimAnt to create your own Super Colony?

Nope. SimAnt limits you to one queen per colony. And it’s a tiny colony - typically no more than a few dozen ants.

Can’t answer the rest of your questions, sorry.

Thanks for that bit, at least. Fast answer, especially considering the time of night!

According to Today’s (Tue Apr 16) London Telegraph

  • BILLIONS of ants from Italy, France, Spain and Portugal have united to wage war against a smaller, separatist colony in eastern Spain that refuses to be assimilated into their supercolony.

In what sounds like the plot from a 1950s B movie, members of the vast “superstate” of co-operative ants fight to the death any rivals they encounter from the smaller unit.*

It says scientists have checked and found that the ants in the supercolony have not suffered inbreeding much. They attribute the friendliness among the supercolony’s ants to an abundance of food.

I still say pour boiling water all over them.

It’s the ant version of Efrafa. They go on Really Wide Patrols.

Don’t you love that CNN graphic though? Creepy-crawly.

OK, so now we have two super colonies, and they seem to be engaged in a insectile version of WWII. I guess that’s one way to determine if the sub-colonies belong to the super colony.

Somehow, I get images of large-scale retaliitory raids against small boys with sticks: “Stir us up, will you…?!”

I just finished reading an article about this. The ants have driven out over 90% of the other types of ants from the area so that it bad from a biodiversity stand point. One way they can tell if the colonies are cooperating is to point two ants from seperate colonies together and if they do nothing then they are from cooperating colonies and if they fight to the death they are not. The article also said that they expect genetic drift to start tearing the colony apart but are not sure exactly when.
I say that humanity should not wait for this to happen but do whatever it takes to destroy this super colony immediately.


I sent a link to the article to a friend yesterday. His respone?

[sub]er… “response”.[/sub]