Like almost all activities in a social insect colony, nest building involves team work. Weaver ants, Camponotus (Myrmobrachys) senex, build elaborate nests made of stitched together leaves that are subdivided into small interconnected chambers. The work of tying these leaves together involves a surprising joint effort by both adults workers and larvae. Adult workers will carry individual larva in their mandibles and stimulate the larva with their antennae to elicit the production of silk from the larva to connect to leaf sections together. Essentially, the adult workers use their developing siblings as little glue guns to build their nests!
Sketch contributed by Maggie Creamer. Fact Contributed by Adrian Perez.
Source: Santos, J.C. and Del-Claro, K., 2009. Ecology and behaviour of the weaver ant Camponotus (Myrmobrachys) senex. Journal of Natural History, 43(23-24), pp.1423-1435.
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Siblings as glue guns – finally, a use for them! I’ve known human children who were sticky enough to do the trick, to 😉 Thanks for writing this, and I loved the drawing.