Colony does not perish when queen dies as ‘chosen’ workers shrink brains and expand their ovaries
Few species in the animal kingdom can change the size of their brain. Fewer still can change it back to its original size. Now researchers have found the first insect species with that ability: Indian jumping ants.
They are like catnip to researchers in the field. In contrast to their cousins, Indian jumping ants colonies do not perish once their queen dies. Instead, “chosen” workers take her place – with expanded ovaries and shrunken brains – to produce offspring. But, if a worker’s “pseudo-queen” status is somehow revoked, their bodies can bounce back, the research suggests.