Fire ants cling together, form giant rafts to survive flooding

U.S. & World

ASHE COUNTY, NC (WCMH) – As it turns out, not even catastrophic flooding can kill fire ants.

Video from NBC shows the ants quite literally riding out Hurricane Florence.

According to livescience.com, fire ant rafts can be put together in about 100 seconds. They studied the phenomenon. The fire ants use claws, jaws and adhesive pads on their legs to stick together. They release an oily fluid that lets them stick to a smooth surface and the ant’s hard covering is water-repelling.

The result is a massive raft in the shape of a pancake and the ability to survive massive floods. The fire ant raft is so elastic and buoyant, it won’t even sink when poked with a stick.

The ants aren’t completely safe, however. They make for good snacks for predators and something as simple as a few drops of soap can break the surface tension of the water and sink the ant rafts quickly.

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