About the episode
Predatory ants, or migratory ants, are known for the destruction they leave behind as a wandering colony, where they can dispose of up to 500,000 prey per day. You will find them mainly in the tropics, where they migrate in long strings between trees. But once, once we had them here too, new research shows.
Hidden in a drawer and part of a 100-year-old museum collection, a researcher accidentally found a block of amber containing an ant. According to the label, it was an ordinary ant, but when she put it under a microscope, she quickly saw: it is something special.
It turned out to be a 35 million year old predatory ant. Only the second predatory ant fossil ever found and the first to come from Europe. Once – show find – predatory ants also paraded through our backyard in warmer weather. A scan also showed that the ant species is related to an eyeless species now found in Africa and South Asia. And that it must be a worker ant.
The discovery makes it possible to better map the evolution of the ant. And after some more research, which will hopefully yield even more interesting information, this predatory ant, with a new tag, is safely back in its drawer.
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