Army ants are frequently used as charismatic organismal representatives of collective behavior in nature, providing templates for modern engineered systems as well as continuing to drive aspirational goals for the engineered systems of the future. Most attention on army ants has been focused on the ability of groups of ants to self-assemble into adaptive structures such as bridges or even whole-colony bivouacs (living nests) that provide shelter and protection. Less attention has been paid to the demonstrated abilities of these large-scale army-ant structures to thermoregulate, which is a particularly notable adaptation given that each individual ant has limited ability to regulate her own body temperature. Understanding the emergence of group-level thermoregulation from inexpensive components provides significant opportunities for engineered systems, but also requires surmounting significant instrumentation challenges. Here, we review what is known about army-ant thermoregulation, what is currently possible in terms of multi-scale instrumentation, and what important gaps need to be filled to advance the field further.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-315
Number of pages8
JournalArtificial Life and Robotics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2022


  • Collective behavior
  • Dorylinae
  • Homeostasis
  • Methodology
  • Thermal performance
  • Thermal regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Artificial Intelligence


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