This summer, more than usual, my sidewalk has been blackened by big masses of ants. When it happened again this evening I looked the phenomenon up. I learned from this fascinating article that the little black ants that often make their way into our kitchens are called, aptly, sidewalk ants … and when they pile up on the sidewalk they are at war! Knowing this piece of information, I got out my magnifier and looked closer. Sure enough, there were mandibles thrashing and little ant bodies locked in layers of combat, often two or three against one. They fight over food, or territory, the ant article continued. Familiar story?
Oblivious to my peeping, they battled in a big squirming mass for the next twenty minutes. Then something happened. The center of the melee thinned, forces were quickly withdrawn, and within a minute or two the whole horde had dispersed. Just like that the battle was over.
The mystery of why they blacken the pavement is solved, but another inscrutable question remains unanswered. Who won??