A species of ant has become the first known non-human animal to tend the wounds of its fellows. “Nurse” ants lick the wounds of fallen comrades, and this helps them survive.
Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) live dangerous lives. Several times a day, parties of 200-600 soldier ants set out to hunt termites, dragging them from their nests and carrying them home. The termites fight back, and their powerful jaws can administer lethal bites, so Matabele ants frequently lose one or more limbs.
In 2017, Erik Frank, then at the University of Würzburg, Germany reported that Matabele ants routinely carry their wounded back to the nest. This is odd, as social insects usually treat each other as expendable … read more