"Fire Ants show collective awareness and computations"
Closing remark from article, linked below:
"The researchers created ant rafts containing as many as 12,000 ants. In the wild, where colonies of fire ants can number in the hundreds of thousands, the floating rafts could potentially be much more formidable.
The research sheds light on how the deeply social insects act together: almost as if they're part of a superorganism, scientists said.
"Some people almost think of ants as a fluid neural network: the colony itself is performing collective computations, but each ant is unaware of all these options," said Iain Couzin, a biologist at Princeton University in New Jersey, who was not involved in the study. "The individuals acting together create this awareness of the environment that no individual ant has, and that's what I think we find fascinating about these insects."
Los Angeles Times
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/technology/sci-tech/mystery-of-floating-fire-ants-solved-20110502-1e3r1.html#ixzz1L9SZchma