Ants Use Their Bodies to Build Bridges in the Air

Ant-Man may not be the most far-fetched superhero, but powers that include changing sizes and leading an army of ants doesn’t exactly make him the most realistic either. But the tiny insects themselves have some outsized (one might even call them super) powers of their own. As seen in the video below, they sometimes team up to build bridges made entirely out of their fellow ants. When they need to get across a gap, they latch together to make it happen. Scott Lang ran across a bridge of fire ants during his training montage in the movie Ant-Man and it turns out that part at least is pretty realistic. Will we see the impressive feat again in the upcoming sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania?

If you were mesmerized by all those tiny ant bodies scurrying over a bridge made out of their fellow insects, you may have missed some other fun facts about ants in the video. There’s now about eight billion people on Earth and something like ten thousand trillion ants. Apparently, the two populations weigh roughly the same amount. The instinctual cooperative behavior shown among the ants is remarkable. That is, if you don’t get the heebie-jeebies seeing all those insects.  

The army ants in the video are just one of the many species of ants, all of which have adapted in different ways. Some others also form bridges or ropes to raid food sources like beehives. Perhaps most dramatically, wood ants have been known to turn to cannibalism in extreme circumstances. 

Dozens of ants team up to form a bridge across an open gap
National Geographic

While we’re getting more Ant-Man content soon, it turns out we could have had even more fighting insects in the MCU. Concept art shows an army of ants joining the climactic battle in Avengers: Endgame, though the sequence didn’t make the final cut.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.

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