Thousand of miles of ants

A supercolony of ants, thousands of miles long, has been discovered, stretching from the Italian Riviera to Spain.

Normally, ants from different nests fight. But the researchers concluded that ants in the supercolony were all close enough genetically to recognize one another, despite being from different nests with different queens.

Cooperating allows the colonies to develop at much higher densities than normally would occur, eliminating some 90 percent of other types of ants that live near them, said Laurent Keller of the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

The Argentine ants were accidentally introduced to Europe around 1920, probably in ships carrying plants, Keller said in an interview via electronic mail.

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