August 09, 2000
The biggest ant colony in

The biggest ant colony in the world.

The ants in this so-called supercolony are so similar to each other genetically that different colonies do not fight with one another the way they do in their homeland. As a result, they are using a united family front to win territory from native ants.

In Argentina, where they are known as sugar ants, different nests of the fiercely territorial ants fight with one another, competing for food and space. An ant that wanders into the territory of another colony just 50 yards away will quickly be torn apart by workers who recognize the peculiar odor of a rival. But in California, scientists found that they could take a worker from San Diego and put it in a colony from San Francisco and it would be welcomed like a kissing cousin.

Posted by Bill Stilwell at August 09, 2000 12:00 AM
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