Wildlife

Ant Triage

A species of sub-Saharan ant has been observed administering medical care to wounded comrades after battle by intently licking the injury.

Matabele ants are among the largest on Earth, and were already known to carry those wounded in battle back to the nest for treatment, where most lived to fight again.

In further studies, lead researcher Erik Frank of the University of Lausanne found that the soldier ants actually conduct a type of triage on the battlefield.

Writing in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, Frank said it is actually the wounded ant that decides whether it lives or dies by simply not cooperating with the helpers if it feels too injured to recover.

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