Back to Prindle Institute

Questions on the Ethics of Triage, Posed by a Sub-Saharan Ant

an image of an anthill

This article has a set of discussion questions tailored for classroom use. Click here to download them. To see a full list of articles with discussion questions and other resources, visit our “Educational Resources” page.


In a new study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, behavioral ecologist Erik Frank at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and his colleagues discuss their findings that a species of sub-Saharan ants bring their wounded hive-mates back to the colony after a termite hunt. This practice of not leaving wounded ants behind is noteworthy on its own, but Frank and fellow behavioral ecologists note that the Matabele ants (Megaponera analis) engage in triage judgments to determine which injured ants are worth or possible to save–not all living wounded are brought back to the nest for treatment.

Continue reading “Questions on the Ethics of Triage, Posed by a Sub-Saharan Ant”