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Amazing Ants Ambush Prey from Foxholes

A close up of the ants in their foxholes. © Alain Dejean and Jerome Orivel

A crafty ant species builds a trap dotted with foxholes for surprise attacks

Such incredible cooperation among ants has never before been described by scientists.

The ants, called Allomerus decemarticulatus, live in trees in the Amazon.

Here's how it works:

An insect lands on the trap,

The ambush is well orchestrated, as University of Toulouse researcher Jerome

"Allomerus workers hide in the galleries with their heads just under the holes,

The ants then slide the prey across the gallery, again moving in and out of

The key to building the trap is a fungus that the ants cultivate. The fungus

"It is something manufactured by the ants from elements coming from the plant and the environment," he said in an email interview. "Contrary to social spiders which are also collectively building a trap (their web) from the silk they produce, the trap of Allomerus is made from external products."

"To our knowledge, the collective creation of a trap as a predatory strategy

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Robert Roy Britt
Rob was a writer and editor at Space.com starting in 1999. He served as managing editor of Live Science at its launch in 2004. He is now Chief Content Officer overseeing media properties for the sites’ parent company, Purch. Prior to joining the company, Rob was an editor at The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, and in 1998 he was founder and editor of the science news website ExploreZone. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.