They’ve got really high hopes.
A. andreae colonies live in trees, and individual ants line the underside edges of leaves, jaws open and outstretched. When an insect lands, the ants seize its legs, holding it down until other ants dismember the pinioned prey.
In the new study, the researchers held weighted threads in front of the ants. Instinctively, the ants bit and held. Without losing its grip, the average worker could hold on to 8 grams, or some 5,700 times its body weight. In proportional terms, that’s like a house cat holding on to a humpback whale. Passing insects don’t have a chance.
Something about the numbers don’t add up for me, though. This puts an ant’s mass at a milligram or two, and that seems very small.