Do ants sleep?

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Andy Tilleard

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Do ants sleep?
« on: 01/10/2011 05:30:03 »
Andy Tilleard  asked the Naked Scientists:
Do ants sleep? When I see ants around a nest, they appear to be so active that it seems logical that they would need to rest as some stage.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 01/10/2011 05:30:03 by _system »


Offline Kryptid

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Do ants sleep?
« Reply #1 on: 01/10/2011 22:17:53 »
I think many "lower" animals don't have sleep in the same sense that humans and other mammals do. Sleep is currently hypothesized to be important for highly developed brains (relatively speaking). Some creatures simply have periods of reduced physical activity but don't completely lose consciousness the way we do at night.

I'm not certain of this fact, but I do recall that I once saw on television that honeybees literally work themselves to death; they are simply replaced by new bees. So if I had to guess, ants just keep working constantly 24/7 until they die and are replaced by new recruits.
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Offline CliffordK

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Do ants sleep?
« Reply #2 on: 02/10/2011 18:33:49 »
Perhaps I need to buy or build a visible ant farm to try to get the answer. 

Ant activity is certainly reduced in the winter, although I'm not sure if it just involves a slowing of metabolic functions, die-offs & regrowth, or hibernation.