Tagged With insect behavior

Scientists in Israel have observed a strange behaviour among brown widow spiders: When given the choice, the males of this species prefer to have sex with older females even though they're less likely to bear offspring. More problematically, these older females are also more inclined to devour their partners after mating, making the males' preference all the more baffling.

When confronted by an enemy, Southeast Asian "exploding ants" do exactly what their name implies: they explode. Ignored for decades, researchers have completed a detailed survey of these enigmatic ants, discovering over a dozen species that fit into this group, including one that's completely new to science.

Sub-Saharan Matabele ants are ruthless killers, raiding termite mounds two to four times each day. But every once in a while, an ant gets hurt and is hauled back home to recuperate - an astonishing insectoid behaviour unto itself. New research suggests there's even more to it than that - these ants also administer medical care to those wounded in battle.

In a behaviour never seen before in an insect species, predatory ants were observed to retrieve wounded comrades on the battlefield and then bring them back to the nest for recovery. Sounds noble, but these ants -- who spend their days attacking termites -- are simply being pragmatic.