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lundi 13 septembre 2010

Ant Death Spiral





This is one of my favorite things about ants -- the ant death spiral. Actually, it's a circular mill, first described in army ants by Schneirla (1944). A circle of army ants, each one following the ant in front, becomes locked into a circular mill. They will continue to circle each other until they all die. How crazy is that? Sometimes they escape, though. Beebe (1921) described a circular mill he witnessed in Guyana. It measured 1200 feet in circumference and had a 2.5 hour circuit time per ant. The mill persisted for two days, "with ever increasing numbers of dead bodies littering the route as exhaustion took its toll, but eventually a few workers straggled from the trail thus breaking the cycle, and the raid marched off into the forest."

Folks interested in things like self-organization, emergant properties, complex systems, etc. etc. like to point to this as a cautionary tale. I even found a reference to a group programming robots to interact like ants that accidentally produced this behavior in their robots. Apparently you can also reproduce this behavior in the lab by placing a glass jar into the surface. The ants will eventually circle the jar and continue to do so even after the jar has been removed. I assume just army ants. Wow, I wish we had an army ant colony in the lab.

25 commentaires:

  1. nice,supportin daily,pls do aswell;)

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  2. Cool. Learn something new every day.

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  3. supportin!

    wtfiniggagun.blogspot.com

    check this too to find new interesting blogs to luv daily :D

    thefuckinlist.blogspot.com

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  4. Neat post.
    I like the new ants cutting across and magically joining. I had no idea.

    http://www.artistsupplyreview.blogspot.com/

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  5. great post... I'm eager to see the next one

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  6. I ddnt know they did that. Already followed, supporting :)

    http://robertblitze.blogspot.com

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  7. Kewl story, bro! Following!

    http://the-state-of-human-intelligence.blogspot.com/

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  8. never saw ants do that 0.0 weird ^^

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  9. how do you get the first ant to do that though...

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  10. it looks like you have a good thing going here... keep up the great work on your blog!

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  11. Interesting observations. nice read

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  12. hmm... I don't know what to think about this

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  13. Very cool.


    I like your blog, please check out mine.

    http://tripthrutime.blogspot.com

    Thanks!

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  14. love to mah bro

    wtfiniggagun.blogspot.com

    check this too to find new interesting blogs to luv daily

    thefuckinlist.blogspot.com

    RépondreSupprimer