By studying previous studies on anthills, biologists at the University of Arizona realized that about half of them seemed inactive ... and wanted to know why. In the field, near Tucson, they collected five colonies of the variety of ants of the corner, which answers the sweet name of Temnothorax rugatulus. An insect similar to another, they decided to score 225 with paint on the head, chest and abdomen (you can imagine the job!). And put the nice beasts in artificial nests to study them ... by filming them daily, night and day. Biologists have evaluated the time that each of the ants traced spent building or maintaining the nest, treating the larvae, regurgitating food for their congeners, etc. Or do nothing.
The result is surprising: almost half of them (103 precisely) were idle almost permanently, without the researchers can justify it (usually, it is a need for rest after a period of activity or function of a day / night rhythm). The idlers never replaced the women workers! Two hypotheses circulate. These ants would be a kind of army of reservists: as long as the community does not need them, they do not move an antenna! Or, in the absence of communication with their studious congeners, they would simply not know that the job is waiting for them ... A little easy!