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Fourmis ouvrières, "Lasius niger", dans leur nid construit en conditions expérimentales

Worker ants, Lasius niger, in their nest built in experimental conditions. By putting ants into experimental devices, research scientists are studying the formation of an antheap. After building pillars, the ants make deposits at height, as here in the photo. These globular structures form capitals which, joined together, create a vaulted passage. This study made it possible to determine that it is the ants’ deposition of pheromones onto the earth pellets that governs the entire dynamics of construction, growth and the shape of the nests. Antheaps exhibit an extremely complex and dynamic architecture. In fact, ants are constantly destroying the structures that they build and adapt their habitat to their environment, in particular the external meteorological conditions. Therefore, research scientists are trying to understand how these insects, guided by their collective intelligence, manage to build very elaborate structures while exhibiting simple individual behaviour.

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