Ant Colony Personality

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“Ant colonies have their own personalities, which are shaped by the environment, a US study suggests.

Certain behaviours go together – for example, a colony that explores more widely for food also tends to respond more aggressively to an intruder.

Such a colony has a more “risk-taking” personality and this was more common in the north, where the climate is colder.

“Sometimes individuals behave differently from one another, and when they do that repeatedly through time, we say that they have a personality.”

Furthermore, there was a shift in these personality traits across the north-south range of the colonies studied, from Washington to Arizona. This suggests that the environment is an important factor in determining a colony’s personality.

“In the more northern climates, the snow pack melts pretty late and then they have a very short window in which they need to acquire all of these resources, to reproduce. So they might have to take more risks in order to do that.”

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