Scientists studying Temnothorx rugatulus ants of Western North America have identified a caste within their colonies that largely laze about most of the time. Lead scientist, Daniel Carbonneau, asks, “are they actually doing something, with it only appearing like they’re inactive? Or are they social parasites acting selfishly?”
Theories abound to try to explain why an ant colony would tolerate such inaction.
Some think they might be reserve soldiers ready to spring into action to defend the nest, others speculate that maybe they’re acting as feed stations for worker ants, or perhaps data stations passing on orders to the others.