A viral YouTube video featuring a troupe of ants running in circle around a ringing iPhone has incited an active discussion among viewers as to why insects behave in such a weird way.
The video, uploaded August 30, initially shows nearly 300 black ants minding their own business and moving in a rather chaotic manner when all of a sudden they form a closed circle and start marching to the sound of a ringing iPhone lying in the center of the scene.
The footage has sparked a whole lot of various theories trying to expose the reasons behind the odd phenomenon.
Some commenters suggested that it might’ve been a tribal dance, while others were sure the ants were merely panicking since they didn’t know whether to answer the phone or not.
Still others stuck to the more scientific explanation voiced by Associate Professor Nigel Andrew of the Department of Entomology at the University of New England, Australia. The ants are sensitive to electromagnetic waves emitted by the iPhone and walking in circles is how they respond to this kind of exposure, Andrew told Yahoo 7.
“[Ants] have magnetic receptors in their antennae. If they’re traveling long distances they use magnetic cues from the earth to know if they are going north, east, south or west,” he said.
Simon Robson, a social insect researcher from Queensland’s James Cook University, believes that ants would circle around any object and the video is nothing special.
“There are many ants that actually start forming in a circle without the phone. It’s an unavoidable consequence of their communication systems. Having the ants together like that, the shape of the phone may have something to do with it and the vibration might get them a bit more excited, but a lot of ants will do it even without the phone,” he explained to Yahoo 7.
As usual, there were some skeptics as well who supposed the whole video had been staged.
One way or another, this mesmerizing march has garnered almost 3.5 million views so far.