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Friday, April 7, 2017

Video shows thousands of fire ants travelling by raft across University of Florida campus

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 4:24 PM

Seeing a couple of fire ants on the sidewalk might make you wary, but thousands on them rafting over bodies of water is basically a scene out of a horror movie.

The University of Florida Entomology department posted a video to its Twitter feed showing the pint-sized squirming red devils drifting in a campus pond in the outdoor Natural Teaching Lab.

Recent rain storms caused the ants to build the raft as a survival mechanism.

According to National Geographic, when water starts to flood a fire ant colony, they all leap into action, building a raft by linking their legs and mouths together.

The process can take less than two minutes.

The ants also move the queen and larvae, which can be seen in the UF video, to the middle of the raft to stay dry.

Apparently, the ants' hairy legs traps air on the bottom layer of the raft, keeping the ants from being completely submerged in the water.

The most terrifying fact is that they can survive for several weeks in this raft-life state, which brings to mind the possibility of a vast fire ant navy ready to punish Florida swimmers.

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