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Magneto-ants pump iron

Researchers have discovered the basis for the magnetic personalities of migratory ants. These social insects integrate magnetic soil nanoparticles into their antennae to help them navigate the forests of South America, according to a study published online today (May 20) in the __Journal of the Royal Society Interface__. A Pachycondyla marginata antattacking a termiteImage: Alex WildThe study is a "great integration of physics and biology," linkurl:Robert Srygley,;http://www.ars.usda.gov/pandp/

Elie Dolgin
Researchers have discovered the basis for the magnetic personalities of migratory ants. These social insects integrate magnetic soil nanoparticles into their antennae to help them navigate the forests of South America, according to a study published online today (May 20) in the __Journal of the Royal Society Interface__.
A Pachycondyla marginata ant
attacking a termite

Image: Alex Wild
The study is a "great integration of physics and biology," linkurl:Robert Srygley,;http://www.ars.usda.gov/pandp/people/people.htm?personid=40103 a physiological ecologist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service in Sidney, Montana, who did not participate in the research findings, told __The Scientist__. Most ants communicate through pheromones and other chemical signals to find their way. But some ant species map-read by responding to geomagnetic forces.__ linkurl:Pachycondyla marginata,;http://www.eol.org/pages/485884 __a black, inch-long, termite-hunting ant that ranges from Bolivia to southern Brazil, is one such species. During the cold and dry season, which spans from April to September, __P. marginata__ ants migrate at...

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