F & # 39 millimeters, thousands & # 39; people living with promiscuity. This density and frequent contacts between individuals are favorable for epidemics. But the ants are able to respond when germs enter the Antilles, namely UNIL researchers in a study published Thursday in the journal Science.
"It's immediate, they are able to identify the right pathogen now and respond, infected ants will isolate themselves, others try saħħhom and help get rid of fungi, and will re-organizing them to reduce transmission in the colony, "says Nathalie Stroeymeyt, author & # 39; study.
Protect the heart of the colony
The biologists studied 22 colony & # 39; common species, the black garden shop. Each individual was identified in 2266 by & # 39; digital marker. Photos taken every half second each recorded movements and contacts between animals in the presence of & # 39; pathogen, f & # 39; in this case fungal cells.
The formal results are: insect change their behavior just hours after infection first employee. The trade & # 39; infected ants fails to protect the heart of the colony, the queen and young.
"Young people are more important because they still have a lot of work out & # 39; do in the community, and if there is a risk & # 39; contamination, the iġġiegħilhom furnaces go to older people arriving at the end of life. they live a little longer on average, "explains Nathalie Stroeymeyt.
Biologists confirmed the mortality was actually higher among feeding, elderly and specialized in the search, from among breeders, remained close to the queen and the cliffs. All queens survived.
70 million years before man
This strategy to control epidemics is b & # 39; & # 39 addition, other behaviors in ants known to protect against disease. In the colony, insects separating clean activities & # 39; those dirty by creating c cemetery and disposal of waste, as in humans.
The only difference, says the director of the Department of Ecology and Evolution at & # 39; UNIL Laurent Keller, "is that ants have been doing this for 70 million years."
Aurelie Coulon / FME