Wasps Get Rid of Ants by Airdropping Them

Killing ants is hard and dangerous work for wasps, so they've developed a rather clever method of getting rid of the pesky insect: they airdrop 'em. Julien Grangier of the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand discovered the strange behavior:

"The first surprise was to see that despite being 200 times smaller, the ants are able to hold their own by rushing at the wasps, spraying them with acid and biting them," Grangier said. "But the most amazing was to observe that wasps, apparently frustrated by having to compete with ants, will pick them up in their mandibles, fly off and drop them away from the food."

The researchers saw the involuntary ant flights 62 times at 20 different bait stations. The wasps didn't bother to take the ants far, usually dropping them only a few centimeters from the tuna. But that was enough. About 47 percent of the time, the discombobulated ants never made it back to the tuna. Even when the ants did make it back, the wasps beat them there 75 percent of the time.


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