Science Questions

Sat, 17th Jun 2006

Part of the show Social Insects and Locust-Inspired Car Safety

Question

Brian in Singapore asked:

I saw a bunch of ants that were crowding around some food crumbs on the pavement. Do ants sleep? They seem to be running around all the time. Do they have some sort of shift schedule that they follow?

Answer

Someone's looked at ant behaviour patterns by following the whole colony over a matter of days, and they have very definite patterns where the whole colony seems to shut down and rest. They then start again in a few hours until in a very specific rhythm, they stop again. They do have rhythms of behaviour although I'm not sure whether that's sleeping, but at least resting. They're not active all the time.

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