Ant islands form after Hurricane Joaquin’s floodwater invades Atlantic coastal cities

Posted at 8:13 PM, Oct 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-08 20:13:27-04

SOUTH CAROLINA - With the Atlantic coast getting hammered with rain from Hurricane Joaquin, people aren't the only residents sticking together to stay afloat. Get a load of fire ants.

Millions of them have literally stuck together to ride out the storm, and as a result, many ant islands are popping up.

"It's actually pretty common," says Erin Mills of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Sticky legs make the ants stick together, and the ants stay together using their jaws to clamp on to each other, forming life rafts.

At the center of these islands are the queen ant and her eggs for safe keeping.

"Ants themselves can actually hold their breath for a really long time, so the ones on the bottom can kinda hang out for a while, but they can shift themselves as needed," said Mills.

However, no defense method makes them safe from all things. There's a saying, "there's safety in numbers," but ants banding together like this make them easily targeted as a snack for fish.

If the ants make it to dry land, they rebuild and start a new colony. The wonders of nature have ways of making your skin crawl.

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