Ants Commemorate A Bee By Laying Flower Petals Around Its Body
ants carrying flower petals and laying them around the body of a dead bumblebee. We are sure that this sight has never been witnessed by anyone before and scientists must be perplexed by such an odd insect behavior. It looks like the ants are having a funeral for the bumblebee."This video was taken outside of my work in Stillwater. There was a dead bumblebee and the ants were bringing flower petals to lay around him. It looked like some sort of bee funeral." - says the video maker. The video above shows a truly bizarre footage of
We aren’t the only ones: animals feel grief too. Many animals will fall silent to mourn or remember the life of one of their own. Animals that have funerals take it one step further and seem to make “rituals” out of their grieving. Call it anthropomorphism if you want, but either way, watching these animals mourn hits close to home. Funerals, of course, are complex behavior; something only really seen in humans and a few select other mammals, like elephants, chimpanzees and magpies To attribute that explanation to ant behavior is highly speculative, to say the least.
What weird 'ritual' is this? It looks like something out of a sad fairy tale. Tiny ants are pulling over petals, making a pile, and on top rests a dead bumblebee. The video is no doubt cool and unusual, but are we watching a never-before-observed ant funeral ritual? Probably not.
So far, experts haven’t come up with a unanimous explanation about what this behavior could possibly be. One theory might be the fact that both bees and ants release a compound called oleic acid when they die. The acid allows these social insects to identify when one of their brethren has passed away, so that the body can be dealt with. Bees have a habit of throwing out the bodies of their dead from the hive, but ants tend to transport their deceased to a midden heap.
So here, we can make an assumption that the ants have stumbled upon the body of a dead bee while transporting flower petals and they might thought it was a dead ant so they put the petals around its body. This assumption doesn’t necessarily have to be true, it is just one solution to the answer what has gotten in these ants.
However, we can offer another more believable theory that maybe the bee just happened to die right on top of one of the ants' nest entrances, it is sitting on top of the entrance and that is why there is a number of petals sitting around the bee. Or the simplest explanation might be a human’s setup - it could also just be humans being humans. Someone actually put the bee there thinking this might happen, creating this lovely image. Either way, rest in peace little bee. Whatever the explanation, it's an intriguing video, and one that we probably won't ever have a definitive answer for so long as the behavior is never witnessed again.