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Feeling overworked? Things could be worse. You could be an ant!

A recent study conducted by a team of researchers from the Universities of Florida and Texas has concluded that the average worker ant has to put up with a life of hardship comparable to a slave belonging to Jabba the hutt. Indeed, in ant society, sleeping is for wimps. This is unless you are the queen of course, then you can dream away your day. You average worker ant on the other hand has to merely live on powernaps.

The study on fireants found that a single worker would take up to 250 naps each day, each lasting about a minute, totalling up to 4 hours and 48 minutes over a 24 hour span. Now their sleeping arrangement sounds a bit like my sleeping habits back at school, but this of course has seriously detrimental effects on the poor little beasties' health, as they only tend to live for a couple of months. The queen on the other hand gets her solid 9 hours sleep (although not all in one peace, she sleeps for 6 minutes at a time), and thanks to this lives much, much longer. In some species up to 45 years!

Your average ants nest then obviously needs about 10 times as much effort from their workers as a 18th century man of war ship. With the workers' sleeping arrangement 80% of the workforce is awake all the time, more than enough to defend the queen while digging new tunnels and tracking down livestock.

In case you suffer from constant fears of ants one day attempting to take over the world, I would not worry. Even the few among them who could start such a rebellion would only have a very short lifespan within which to do so. Hardly enough time to co-ordinate a world wide ant-attack!



http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/

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