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Biologist to tag 1,000 wood ants with tiny radio receivers in order to track and map ant behavior

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Hairy Wood Ant

Samuel Ellis, a biologist from the University of York, is about to begin a mufti-year project which will involve the radio tagging of over 1,000 hairy wood ants with tiny radio receivers.  The project will be one of the largest radio-tagging experiments of insects in the wild.  Each hairy wood ant, which are about one centimeter in length, will be caught by hand.  Ellis will dab a bit of glue on the ant’s back and attach a one millimeter by one millimeter radio receiver to the little critter.  The ant will then be placed in a container, all by itself, for one hour while the glue dries.

“Considering that ants can carry up to twice their body weight without any notable change in behavior, there’s not much cause for concern here.”

Once the ants are all tagged, Ellis will run a handheld radio scanner over the ant trails and nests to locate and map the ants’ whereabouts.

Sources: Popular Science