- Live Stories
- Young Minds
Meet Indian jumping ants, who can shrink and re-grow their brains
This species colony do not perish once their queen loses her life, and instead, "chosen" workers take her position
Did you know that a few species exist that can change the size of their brain?
There are a handful of species too that can change it back to their original size, according to a new research.
The name of these insect species is Indian jumping ants.
This species colony do not perish once their queen loses her life, and instead, "chosen" workers take her position, with expanded ovaries and shrunken brains to create offspring, reports The Guardian.
However, if a worker's "pseudo-queen" status is taken back, their bodies can bounce back, according to the study.
Generally, it is decided at the larval stage whether an ant will be a worker or a queen.
If an ant is well-fed and has the right hormones, it has the potential to become a big queen.
Otherwise, it has to remain as a sterile worker unless the species is an Indian jumping ant.
"They have this ability to completely transform themselves at the adult stage, and that makes them interesting to try to understand," lead author Dr Clint Penick from US-based Kennesaw State University said.
Insects such as ants follow a caste-based model in which the queen acts as the sole reproducer by secreting pheromones and do not let other female worker ants lay eggs.
The worker ants are to job like hunting for food, cleaning, caring for the young ones, among others.
But, unlike typical colonies that cease to exist following the death of the queen, Indian jumping ant colonies are functionally immortal.