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Ants chatter to each other in nests

LONDON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- A British scientist says advanced audio technology shows ants talk together frequently while inside their nests.

Miniature microphones and speakers placed inside nests allowed scientists to play back sounds made by the queen, which called the ants to attention, The Times of London reported Friday.

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"When we played the queen sounds they did 'en garde' behavior. They would stand motionless with their antennae held out and their jaws apart for hours -- the moment anyone goes near they will attack," Jeremy Thomas of the University of Oxford told The Times.

Thomas said further analysis may reveal ants have a wider vocabulary than previously suspected. "The most important discovery is that within the ant colony different sounds can provoke different reactions," he said. "I would be very surprised if we didn't get different types of sound."

The findings are published in the journal Science.

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