Harvester ants live in desert grasslands and eat seeds. Colonies manage water stress by regulating foraging using olfactory interactions between outgoing and returning foragers. A long-term study in New Mexico shows how this collective behavior is evolving in drought conditions.
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Many thanks to all of the students and collaborators who have contributed so much to the harvester ant study. It was not possible in a brief essay to review the related work of many other researchers; the work described here contributes to a collective effort to understand the behavior, ecology and evolution of ants.
The author declares no competing interests.
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Gordon, D.M. The red harvester ant. Nat Methods 19, 1324–1325 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41592-022-01671-4