Researchers from the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, discovered that the red wood ants can sense earthquakes even before they strike. Researchers discovered that red wood ants preferred building the colonies along the active faults and fractures where the Earth ruptured.
Lead author of the research, Gabriele Berberich described that the behaviour of red wood ants changed considerably before the earthquake above magnitude 2.0 struck the area. The behaviour of these ants remained like that and did not come back to normal till a day after the earthquake. The research of Gabriele Berberich was presented at European Geosciences Union annual meeting in Vienna.
A team of researchers counted 15000 ant mounds lining the active faults. These ants were tracked continuously for three years between 2009 and 2012. It was discovered that the ants underwent the usual activities on the day just before the earthquake. Then they went back to their moulds. But before an earthquake strikes, the ants remain awake and outside the moulds during night.
It was found that the insects can predict earthquakes by knowing about the changing gas emissions or shifts in magnetic fields of the Earth. In case of red wood ants, there are chemo receptors for carbon dioxide gradients along with magneto receptors for electromagnetic fields.