Researchers from all over the world come together in Namibia every year in order to study the amazing white ants. White ants are not ants, in fact they are not even closely related to ants as they are actually termites. After carefully studying termite behavior, researchers were able to identify distinct personality traits belonging to different termites within a colony.
White ants, like all termites, demonstrate advanced social behavior as well as advanced technological feats. For example, termites are able to control the temperature of their nests by using the wind to clear the nests of all the stagnant air that exists within the termites’ nest. While observing complicated social behavior, researchers noticed that different termites perform different functions for the good of their colony.
These different functions correspond with different personality traits. For example, some termites are “initiators,” which involves roaming around the nest to find lazy termites to recruit for construction projects. Other termites are tasked with providing members of the colony with water. Scientists are still trying to figure out if all this advanced termite behavior is a result of many robotic termites working together, or if termites, like us, have a soul and are not so “robotic” as we are inclined to think.
Do you think that termites are only intelligent when viewed as a collective society, or can individual termites demonstrate advanced social and technical behavior?