Fire ants form rafts that have weird properties when stretched


Fire Ants Floating in Flood Water

Fire ants work together to form a floating raft when their nest is flooded

Jennifer White Maxwell/Shutterstock

Fire ants can intertwine their bodies to form a raft-like structure – and we now know these rafts have unusual properties that are difficult to replicate in conventional materials. Studying them may inspire the design of new materials in the future.

When their nest is flooded, red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) can survive by linking their bodies together to form a floating raft. Past research has suggested that physics plays an important role in the creation…

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