Mysteries of Nature: Watch This Freaky Video of an Ant Death Spiral

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Come on. You’re curious about what an “ant death spiral” is. Just watch this video. You know you want to.

By the time you read this sentence you’ve probably watched the video. Now, you are undoubtedly asking, what exactly is going on here?

An ant death spiral, also known as a circular mill, occurs when a pack of of army end up following each other’s smell around in a circle — many times only stopping when all of the members have died of starvation.

The phenomenon was first observed in in insects in 1910 by the scientist W.M. Wheeler in his laboratory. Wheeler wrote:

I have never seen a more astonishing exhibition of the limitations of instinct. For nearly two whole days these blind creatures, so dependent on the contact-odor sense of their antennae, kept palpating their uniformly smooth, odoriferous trail and the advancing bodies of the ants immediately preceding them, without perceiving that they were making no progress but only wasting their energies, till the spell was finally broken by some more venturesome members of the colony.

According to NewsFeed’s research, the death spiral was first noticed in army ants by T.C. Schneirla in 1944.

If you are still curious, here’s another fun video of an ant spiral.