JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Carpenter ants. View of members of a colony of Carpenter ants Camponotus sp., in their nest in a laboratory. At upper left are developing larvae with "minor" workers involved in brood care; large "major" workers take part in foraging. Carpenter ants are notorious destroyers of wood, preferring to chew out their nest in pine trees. Like many other social ants, colonies of Camponotus sp. are self-organising systems which have no leader. But they solve complex problems by individual ants collectively doing simple tasks, such as finding the shortest route to food. This method of group problem solving may help scientists to design future computers, or teamwork in robots.
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