No Ant Left Behind: Warrior Ants Carry Injured Comrades Home

Don't call it empathy, scientists say. These termite-eating ants only retrieve injured comrades on the way home from a hunt, not before. But the hurt ants do recover better at home — to fight again.
This wounded ant (Megaponera analis), with two termites clinging to it, is alive but likely too exhausted after battle to get back to the nest without help. Source: Frank et al./Science Advances

Leave no man behind. That's an old idea in warfare — it's even part of the Soldier's Creed that Army recruits learn in basic training.

And never leaving a fallen comrade is also the rule for some warriors who are ants, according to a report published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

These ants, Megaponera analis, hunt and eat termites. Scouts will go out, find a group of termites, and then return to the ant nest to muster the troops.


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