Research - Gliding Ants - Videos
|Click on images to download videos (all are WMV format).|
Video 1a shows a control drop (to indicate a straight fall) followed by three different C. atratus workers that were dropped from ca. 30 m up in a Parkia sp. tree near Iquitos, Peru. The ants were painted white before being dropped. Each one falls several meters, makes a rapid adjustment to align its abdomen with the tree trunk, then glides to the trunk.
I shot this footage on an atypically breezy day - notice the swaying motion in the videos. The wind was moving from the upper right corner to the lower left of the screen. I tried to drop the ants between bouts of strong breeze, but ant #1 was an exception. Notice how it is blown to the bottom center of the field of view immediately upon release, but makes a correction and lands on the tree trunk about 6 meters beneath the camera.
Distances in these videos can be deceiving. Keep in mind that the ants are only about 1 cm long. The understory vegetation is at least 20 m below the camera, and the ants are landing on the tree 10 meters or less below the camera.
Video 1b follows the same format as the first one: a control drop followed by three different C. atratus workers. Ant #4 exhibits a typical controlled descent. It starts to head away from the tree, but then makes a quick 180-degree turn and glides to the trunk. Ant #5 makes a nice recovery from a tumbling fall. Ant #6 was caught by an unexpected breeze coming from the top right of the screen, but was able to adjust its descent in the form of a long curving glide that ends on the leeward side of the tree.
|(2.9 MB, wmv format)|
|(1.5 MB, wmv format)|
Video #2 shows a control drop followed by two P. gracilis workers doing some acrobatic gliding to the trunk of a Psidium sp. tree (27 m above the ground) near Iquitos, Peru. The ants were dusted with orange powder to improve contrast. Notice that the first ant initially directs its glide to a bright patch of leaves, then makes a quick 180-degree turn and goes straight to the tree trunk. The second ant glides to the tree after a spiral descent. For more information about this genus, visit Dr. Phil Ward's web site here. To see nice photos of various Pseudomyrmex species, visit Ant Web here.
|(2.4 MB, wmv format)|
This video shows a contol drop followed by three different workers of C. heathi falling from the crown of a Swietenia macrophylla tree (ca. 30 m above the ground) near Iquitos, Peru. The ants were dusted with orange fluorescent powder before being dropped. This is just one of several Camponotus species that show gliding behavior, but not all arboreal species in this genus are gliders.
|(2.3 MB, wmv format)|
This video shows two different workers of D. armigerum falling from the crown of a Lecythis sp. tree (ca. 30 m above the ground) near Iquitos, Peru. The ants were dusted with orange fluorescent powder before being dropped.
|(2.3 MB, wmv format)|
This video shows a control drop followed by two different workers of C. erinaceus falling from the crown of an unidentified tree (ca. 30 m above the ground) near Gamba, Gabon. The ants were painted with white nail polish before being dropped.
The photo at right is of C. guineensis and was kindly provided by Sasha Mikheyev.
|(2.0 MB, wmv format)|
|To see videos of non-gliding ants for comparison click here|
|Page updated 12 July 2006||Gliding Ants Home|
|Copyright © 2003-2006 Stephen P. Yanoviak|