On the Battlefield, Ants Treat Each Other’s War Wounds

By Stephanie Pappas

A species of warmongering sub-Saharan ant not only rescues its battle-wounded soldiers but also treats their injuries.

This strikingly unusual behavior raises the survival rate for injured ants from a mere 20 percent to 90 percent, according to new research published Feb. 13 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

These same ants, a species called Megaponera analis, were observed last year bringing their injured back to the nest, but no one knew what happened to the wounded ants after that, said study leader Erik Frank, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. Now, it’s clear that the ants get extra TLC after being saved from the battlefield. 

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