Monday, November 08, 2010

Slaver ants attack strong, not weak colonies

If you're an ant and your anthill wants some new slaves, you attack the weakest colony you can find, right? Weirdly, no. German researchers found that one slave-making species they studied picked difficult targets, even thought these would inevitable result in more casualties among the attackers. Why? For Protomognathus americanus, which has small colonies of its own to begin with, it appears that losing scouts probing a lot of possible targets is a serious matter. Making fewer raids on nests with more pupae to steal is actually the lower-risk tactic for the colony as a whole.
COMMENT: It would be interesting to look into how this compares to the historical tactics of human slavers: Arab and African slavers would attack whole villages to get captives, either for their own use or to sell to Europeans and Americans. Did they pick bigger targets, like the ants?

1 comment:

Sandijs Aploks said...

Today, colonialism exploits those countries, where people are able to perform complicated tasks. Unfortunately, in the result, colonizer ruins his home country through his own population degradation in a few generations. Intelligent, remote slaves was a mistake.

Earlier, the primary need was "cheap muscles", I suppose. Everything happened locally, so the countries flourished?

Actually, the whole Earth's biosphere is based on parasitism. That's our specifics from the aliens' point of view.