May 11, 2021

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To grow to be queen, these ants shrink their brains and balloon their ovaries (then, they reverse it)

Even amongst ants, royal standing is mainly an inherited affair. But for Indian leaping ants, a shot at donning the crown is really worth getting rid of a little bit of your brain for — specifically as you can expect to constantly be capable to expand it again afterwards.

Compared with other ant species, Indian leaping ants (Harpegnathos saltator) do not die with their queens. Fairly, choose women participate in monthlong antenna-boxing matches to choose who will get to be the new matriarch. The victorious feminine then expands her ovaries and shrinks her mind to 3-quarters of its first dimension.