The Power of Paramedic Ants

Ants are a communal insect that has their strength in their numbers. After they find food, possibly battle for it, there can be many battle wounds along the way. It has been found in African Matabele ants, which leave their home base in masses to attack termite nests for food. Many ants loose limbs and even their lives during the process. Yet, an interesting discovery has shed some light on how the group manages to recover from the war of food.


Paramedic Ants

When Matabele ants feed attack termites, they do it in groups up to 600 ants. The larger ants break through the natural environment while the smaller ants attack their targets and bring the dead termites back to the ant’s nest. Research has found that ants have the ability to not only pick up their fellow comrades after injury and take them back to home base, but they also have antibiotic saliva to help heal any wounds.

Field experiments conducted in the humid savannah woodland at Comoé National Park, Ivory Coast, scientists found that returning ants carried any ant with one or two injured limbs back to the base. Yet, if the injuries were too extensive, they were left to die. The researchers moved six different ant nests into artificial ones and recorded footage of their behaviors.

“We don’t know if they are just removing dirt from the wound or applying an antimicrobial substance to fight off an infection. But we do know that if they don’t receive the treatment, 80% die within 24 hours. If you allow the treatment for an hour, the ants survive,” said Erik Frank, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Wurzburg.

The ants in distress from the injury communicate to the other ants through pheromones. Once the paramedic ants come to the rescue, the injured ants tuck in the legs to allow a smooth transport back to their nest. Frank also attempted to create an artificial rescue by coating an ant in pheromones. The ants came to the rescue but promptly abandoned the mission when the “suffering” and failed to position its legs for proper transport.

This fascinating aspect of ant society is quite complex and sophisticated behavior. Biological advances like this can open many doors in the knowledge of animal behavior and science itself.

Why Science Blogging is Important


In today’s ever-evolving world, science data advances almost in the blink of an eye. This is why science blogging is so important. Science blogging helps to disperse state-of-the-art scientific data nearly as soon as research is done and validation is complete.

It is difficult to imagine what daily life would be like without science blogging offering a wide range of topics updating scientific research into major health, nature and environmental issues.

For example, with the avid interest in ancestral genealogy, science bloggers use links to the most recent scientific research on an 8 million-year-old gene that could help citrus growers or the recent discovery that a praying mantis has 3-D vision. Each of these spins off into blog articles with comments by online readers.


Breaking News and Science Blogging

When the U.S. NASA launched a huge Delta 4 heavy rocket known as Space X’s Falcon Heavy rocket, science bloggers were full of the scientific details.


Not only is science blogging important in the U.S., but access to science blogs from around the globe provide a different perspective of important scientific studies and research, such as how genes may cause mental health problems or the new tick-borne disease discovered by Swedish scientists.

The United Kingdom’s science news that underwater volcanoes may be the cause of dinosaur extinction has science bloggers posting their views on this issue.


Science Blogging Supports the Public

One of the biggest benefits of science blogging is that it supports the public and stakeholders by continually injecting a consortium of public and stakeholder views and opinions on scientific issues.

During the late 1990s, the effects of acid rain kept science bloggers busy providing the public with a variety of opinions and ideas.

Online science blogs are a form of scientific communication shared over the internet platform and social media. Choices of science blogs range from those dedicated to science research, specific branches of science and science blogs that encourage students to take a greater interest in science.


The Convenience of Science Blogging

For professionals and neophytes alike, science blogging is readily accessible. It requires only minimal knowledge of using a search engine to find the science blog of choice. For example, one of the most popular nature science blogs is found at

The Fate of the American Passenger Pigeon

The passenger pigeon was once the most abundant bird in the North America, and even the world. The species were often viewed as a nuisance in the public eye because their population had grown so rapidly and had polluted many public areas. People took it upon themselves to take measures to control the population by shooting, trapping, and even poisoning mass groups of the passenger pigeons. This and other biological influences have pushed the population of the passenger pigeon to the brink of extinction.


The Situation

The so-called pigeon problem has been ongoing in the United States for over one hundred years. At the turn of the 18th century, we saw their number diminish so quickly that 5 billion birds vanished in two centuries. People’s effort to manage the species’ population has landed their efforts to the tipping point of extinction. New studies have begun to dig deeper into the true reason for the decline of the passenger pigeon. Scientists are turning the bird’s genome to hopefully shed some light on the issue.

One study conducted by Beth Shapiro of the University of California, Santa Cruz along with some of her colleagues have found some new information about the pigeon’s population decline. The study looked at collected pieces of the bird’s skin from about 200 passenger pigeons from taxidermied bodies that are 100 years old. They took these pieces of skin to study their sequenced genomes and compared them to the band-tailed pigeon who is a close relative to the species that still has a managed population in smaller flocks.

Shapiro’s conclusions found that the species’ genome was essentially made to be a superspecies in a natural environment. Her team found that the passenger pigeons biological makeup was at its peak when the species was flourishing in mass flocks. When humans made the push to curb the population, their genome was not made to thrive in smaller flocks thus leading to their decline. Shapiro believes that just because humans push a species to a smaller population, does not guarantee that the species is genetically structured to thrive in that manner.

This may not be the blanket answer for the mass decline but it is a strong step in uncovering the truth of this mystery. Shapiro believes that the pigeons could still be flying today if it was not for the skills of the modern day human hunter. Yet, evolutionary changes also play a factor in the population’s disappearance.