Fire Ant "Rafts" Photos and Video: South Carolina Flooding Has Ants Joining Forces
Ants work together to build their colonies, feed their communities and, apparently, survive natural disasters. Photos and videos circulating the web show fire ants in South Carolina sticking onto each other to create water-repelling "rafts" following record-breaking rainfall between Friday and Sunday that caused severe flooding in some parts of the state.
"Even flooding can't stop fire ants in South Carolina," Weather Channel meteorologist Ari Sarsalari tweeted, along with a GIF of what appears to be thousands of fire ants moving in unison like a raft. "Amazing creatures."
Other images show the ants sticking together in a feat that needs to be seen in order to be believed:
Aa Mashable reports, a 2011 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explains ants are much more likely to survive the type of conditions caused by recent flooding in South Carolina when grouped together. Fire ants are able to "enhance their water repellency by linking their bodies together, a process analogous to the weaving of a waterproof fabric," the study noted.
Check out the BBC's video report of the ant rafts below:
The flooding in South Carolina has caused at least 17 deaths, while tens of thousands of people have been without power for days as their roadways and homes were submerged in waters from swollen rivers.