After recent flooding in South Carolina, residents in the area have reported seeing islands of ants floating in flood waters.
Local journalists reporting on flooding in upstate South Carolina have filmed patches of ants which form what could be called islands or rafts created to seek refuge from rising waters in the area.
Adrian Acosta from FOX Carolina nearly stepped in a “pile of mud” when, upon closer inspection, turned out to be one of these floating ant rafts. UPI reports that residents around the region had also reported seeing similar ant rafts.
Biology professor Dave Ferris told FOX Carolina that the colony’s queen is placed on top of the raft, which will float until it reaches a new location.
National Geographic has described the phenomenon as a “fire ant life raft,” and states that ants link hands to form
Regarding the ants which form the bottom of the raft, Georgia Institute of Technology grad student Nathan Mlot told National Geographic, “Even when they’re on the bottom of the raft, they never technically become submerged.” This is because ants are able to trap a small bubble of air with tiny hairs on their bodies.
These islands of ants can float for weeks.