Posted by: zyxo | March 11, 2008

Swarm intelligence : cheating !

Apparently ants have been cheating on us all the time. The “emerging” patterns in ant colonies are usually seen as altruistic collaboration in favor of the swarm.

According to the article Royal corruption is rife in the ant world recent investigation suggests that ants are cheaters !


  1. I read this in the newspaper the other day and didn’t know if it was a spoof or not, however after finding out that it was actual research conducted by a university, then I started to read more about it.

    I must admit that finding out that ants can ‘cheat’ certainly makes you think that animals are not that different, in some aspects, to humans, since it seems like we all want whats best for our young.


  2. Stefan,
    indeed, like humans, animals have to make the best choices for themselves and their offspring. There are other examples : in a baboon group it is the alfa male that has the right to fertilize the females. Sometimes subdominant baboons join forces : while one of the two starts a fight with the alfa male and gets beaten up, the other one has sex with one of the females. The next time they swich roles.
    In european blue tits (a small bird) females of subdominant males try to escape the vigilant eye of their partner when they are fertile to get fertilized by a ‘better’ male in the neighbourhood. When afterwards their own male wants to do his thing, these clever femals hung upside down on a twig. Even for a blue tit it is impossible to fertilise his female that way.

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