Ants are highly social and dynamic creatures, who live in groups called colonies. In some ant species it has been shown that colony behaviors and interaction density (amount of ants) show variability that oscillates, or moves back and forth. These colony-level rhythms vary across colonies, species, and ecological contexts. It is an active area of research to understand the diversity and functions of rhythmic activity in ants.
Sketch & fact by Daniel Friedman
[Edited by Isabelle McDonald]
Doering, G. N., Sheehy, K. A., Lichtenstein, J. L. L., Drawert, B., Petzold, L. R., & Pruitt, J. N. (2019). Sources of intraspecific variation in the collective tempo and synchrony of ant societies. Behavioral Ecology, 30(6), 1682–1690. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arz135
Gordon, D. M. (2010). Ant Encounters: Interaction Networks and Colony Behavior (Primers in Complex Systems, 1) (Illustrated ed.). Princeton University Press.