Sunday Night Movie: Swimming Ants

From "Life in the Undergrowth", perhaps the finest insect documentary ever made, a scene featuring Australia's intertidal ants:

A few years back I traveled through northern Queensland with myrmecologists Phil Ward and Gary Alpert. Having heard about the aquatic abilities of these ants, we searched for them in a mangrove forest just outside the Cairns airport while waiting for our flight. After a bit of looking, Phil found a foraging trail of large black ants going up a mangrove trunk.

We dropped a few into the water below, and sure enough- swimming ants! It's a remarkable behavior.

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Now we know the origin of the Australian crawl. :)

By Bob Carlson (not verified) on 25 Apr 2010 #permalink

It's fabulous to see them actually swim! Very nice indeed. And when you hear the commentator you can't be surpriced because all his documentaries are very good!

By Marc "Teleutot… (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Very nice video.

BTW, I saw an episode of the new Discovery "Life" series that had qutie a bit of ant footage -- Might be worth looking up for this feature in the future. I seem to recall a "fail" that could be discussed. Somehow, Oprah doesn't quite live up to the standard of Sir David, but at least she's got to be good for drawing in new audience members for this grand show of life on Earth.

By James C. Trager (not verified) on 26 Apr 2010 #permalink

Astounding. What a wonderful adaptation; I'd never heard of this species before. Thanks for the video!

How on earth do they get that footage? Astounding. Inside a sunken nest! Waterproof, macro lenses? Mind boggling.

Hello Alex,

I have not ever heard about this type of ants. They have quality of swimming,then definitely it is very exciting for me,because i love knowing something special and innovative in nature.
Thanks for sharing it.

Oprah doesn't quite live up to the standard of Sir David, but at least she's got to be good for drawing in new audience members for this grand show of life on Earth.

Somehow, Oprah doesn't quite live up to the standard of Sir David, but at least she's got to be good for drawing in new audience members for this grand show of life on Earth.