Indian jumping ants can shrink their brains to fight for the crown

April 20th, 2021

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If you thought humans took pageants and royal families seriously, take a look at these Indian jumping ants. 

Being a queen is almost every girl’s dream, but for these ants it takes a lot more than marrying a prince and dressing pretty.

For most ant species being queen is something you’re born into, quite literally royalty. However, for Indian jumping ants, even the humble worker can compete her way up to becoming queen.

indian jumping ants

All she has to do is compete with the rest of the colony and shrink her brain. Yeah, you heard right. These ants shed off parts of their brain so they can focus all that energy on their ovaries. Could you imagine how their pageants go?

When the colony queen dies, female ants in the colony shrink their brain and undergo these duels to find the next in line.

It’s unlike the jousting tournaments that you’d see in a renaissance fair. Out of all the competitors, around 8-10 survivors often remain and at that point their ovaries will grow to up to five times in size, while their brains will shrink by as much as up to 25% in size.

It’s not all bad for the losers though, rather than spend the rest of their lives with a scarred dignity and shrunken brain, they can regrow their brain in 2 weeks – the dignity part stays wounded though. They return to their jobs as workers who need brain power.

These ants are an amazing marvel of nature, being able to change your brain size to adapt to the situation is something extremely rare in the animal kingdom. Can’t help but make you wonder what other abilities nature has hidden right under our nose? 

POP! Creator Community/Viking Ulanday

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