Ant responses to social isolation resemble those of humans

Ants react to social isolation in a similar way as do humans and other social mammals. A study by an Israeli-German research team has revealed alterations to the social and hygienic behavior of ants that had been isolated from their group. The research team was particularly surprised by the fact that immune and stress genes were downregulated in the brains of the isolated ants. "This makes the immune system less efficient, a phenomenon that is also apparent in socially isolating humans—notably at present during the COVID-19 crisis," said Professor Susanne Foitzik, who headed up the study at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The study on a species of ant native to Germany has recently been published in Molecular Ecology.