Little and large ants cooperate to carry a scorpion leg
© N.R. Franks
Army ants team little with large to lift heavy loads.
If you can’t see the point of the miniature back wheel on a penny-farthing bicycle, try riding a unicycle or watch an ant colony. Ants have realized that, to carry a heavy load, two supports are better than one - even if they seem comically mismatched.
When army ants partner up to carry a lump of food too big for a single ant to transport, an unusually large worker ant takes the front, and an unusually small one, the back, Nigel Franks of the University of Bristol, UK, and his colleagues have found1. Two such ants can carry a load heavier than the sum of their individual abilities.
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