Why Ants Never Lose Their Way

By Meera Dolasia on May 25, 2009

Word Search

The revelations that came from scientists in Rio de Janeiro, who studied termite-hunting ants using sophisticated microscopes, are quite astonishing.

Just like the human-built GPS systems, these tiny creatures have magnets built into their antennas, which help them navigate. However, while the human system relies on huge expensive satellites, ants get their magnetic navigation powers from the minerals in the soil and the earth's magnetic field.

The researchers believe that little creatures pick up mineral particles, especially iron oxide in their antennas and use them to pick up the extremely weak signals of the Earth's magnetic field (1/20,000 that of a refrigerator magnet). The researchers also believe that not all ants navigate in this manner - Some, like the desert ants have developed special eyes and use the movement of the Sun as their GPS guide.

These findings just add to array of other amazing things that scientists have found about these industrious little creatures. They not only have the largest brain when compared to other insects their size, but one with a processing power that equals the computer that controlled the first NASA moon mission. If that is not enough, it was recently discovered that ants communicated with each other by talking - but not in the usual squeaky animal way - Instead, they stroke the ridges of their abdomen to convey messages to each other. We wonder what else we will find about these tiny but amazing little insects.

sources: discovery.com, dailmail.co.uk

Create MLA, Chicago, or APA Website Citation

Create a website citation for this article. We support MLA8, MLA7, APA, and Chicago citation formats.

VocabularyPlay Game

to use your custom avatar.
  • tristen
    tristenWednesday, April 8, 2015 at 12:02 pm
    awesome but the video dose not exist but still awesome
    • lapo
      lapoTuesday, November 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm
      I knew that ants never sleep but I did not know that
      • toco
        tocoTuesday, November 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm
        I hate ants
        • KendracoolFriday, September 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm
          • AwesomeRockistThursday, November 11, 2010 at 4:49 pm
            • 莉娜 Lì nuó LenaFriday, March 26, 2010 at 12:44 pm
              darn fur darn pants. no video
              • EllieFriday, May 29, 2009 at 4:23 am
                That is weird!!
                • Rocker87Thursday, May 28, 2009 at 11:32 pm
                  that's so nasty but cool

                  Recent Comments

                  dp-9549 wrote:

                  dinosaurs are so cool
                  The Dinosaur Family Tree Gets A ...

                  dp-9549 wrote:

                  i missed, but i don't really care
                  Free Comic Book Day Is Just A We...

                  hello wrote:

                  that is insane he does not look ...
                  100-Year Old Marathon Runner Kee...

                  kw-9007 wrote:

                  Sooooooooo cute!!! I absolutely ...
                  Boo Mania Sweeps Over America (A...

                  Our Apps and Plugins