These termite-hunting ants lick the severed legs of their friends to treat them

Termite-hunting ants in sub-Saharan Africa treat each other’s wounds by licking them, according to new research. It might sound icky — but the treatment actually saves lives.

The ant, called Megaponera analis, specializes in raiding termite nests. These hunts, however, are dangerous: The ants can lose legs or antennas, and sometimes they die. A study last year showed that the ants rescue their injured friends in the battlefield, taking them back to the nest. Now, researchers have shown what exactly happens in the nest after those rescue operations. In hour-long sessions, healthy ants take turns licking the injured mate’s severed legs, treating the open wounds. And that reduces mortality by 70 percent, possibly by fighting off infections,…

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Here’s how to deal with those clumps of floating fire ants in Houston

In addition to the catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Harvey, Houston residents have one more thing to worry about: floating colonies of fire ants.

Fire ants have waxy bodies that allow them to repel water. Should a colony find itself waterlogged, ants will protect their queen by forming a mass around her, as well as eggs, larvae, and pupae (ants that are in between larvae and adults). As the ants float, they rotate, so that the underwater ants will get to the top and vice versa. This behavior is totally normal, Molly Keck, an entomologist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, tells The Verge. “We usually call fire ants flood water species,” she says. “They’ve been known well before this hurricane to float on top of water like…

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