An analysis of photographs of a group of ants shows they are not just sleeping.
Ants sleep as humans do, according to researchers who examined a series of images from a colony in the Canary Islands.
“Ants are a lot more similar to humans than to other invertebrates, such as snakes, turtles, frogs, bats and birds,” said lead researcher Dr Daniela Barreto of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
“It is quite amazing that they sleep like us.
I can’t explain it any better than this.”
Ants can communicate through their antennae, which has been studied in the lab, but scientists are unsure how the animals know what they are hearing.
“The antennae are very sensitive, but the ability to pick up sounds is very difficult to explain,” Dr Barreta said.
“This has led us to think that there is some sort of ‘signal processing’ going on.”
These observations are not only of ants, but also of the many other invertes that are also in the same habitat.
“So far, all these studies have focused on animals in natural settings.”
Researchers have identified about 200 species of insects, amphibians, spiders and spiders.
AntidoteAnts live in an insect-like habitat, where they must be very active to avoid being eaten by predators.
“If ants don’t move, their food sources disappear.
And this makes them very vulnerable to predators, like mosquitoes, fleas and scorpions,” Dr Martin L. Reimers, a University of Illinois insect ecologist, said.
Dr Barreti said the study, published in the journal ZooKeys, was not designed to answer questions about whether ants sleep differently to humans.
“I can’t say if they are more or less similar to us.
But they definitely look very much like us,” she said.
The study was conducted at a colony of four colonies that were in an underground chamber where ants were living in large numbers.
They were housed in two large boxes that were surrounded by a layer of vegetation, but Dr Barretti said the most important part of the experiment was examining how ants sleep.
“We are trying to understand how they sleep,” she explained.
“They have a very complex behaviour, and we want to understand why.”
Ant colonies in nature are not usually studied in such detail, and there are few images of the insects that are used to study them.
Scientists are still struggling to understand what the animals are doing in their underground habitats, which are not always clear.
Dr Reimhers, who was not involved in the study said the work was important because ants have evolved to live in a highly complex environment.
“There are many species of ants and they are all very similar to each other, so it is very easy to imagine them sleeping together,” he said.