Sleep Architecture in a Fire Ant (and other ant trivia)

In Costa Rica, I saw numerous leaf cutter and army ants. Though I was antcipating seeing a bullet ant, I did not. During such citings, I learned from http://www.montegraphia. com that leaf cutter ants can carry detritus that amasses to 6-20 TIMES  body weight. Upon leaving Costa Rica, I read an article on Sleep Architecture in the Fire Ant sent by a fellow graduate student. Once again, I was mesmerized by ant trivia as I learned there are disparities in sleep between workers and queens; Workers have short and frequent episodes of sleep, while queens have extended episodes of sleep. Extended sleep in queens is hypothesized to improve reproductive fitness. Increased reproductive fitness of queens also manifests from synchonizing sleep architecture across a sleep episode by means of “cuddling” with each other. Even more interesting, ants exhibit RAM sleep or RAPID ANTENNA MOVEMENT which is comparable to the rapid eye movements seen during REM sleep in mammals. As illustrated below, ants also exemplify species-specific sleeping postures that are stereotypic for different sleep architecture.

Sleep Architecture in the Fire Ant


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