Scientists are striving to uncover the ingenious structural engineering secrets behind the floating rafts formed by panicking fire ants.

When confronted by a sudden deluge, fire ants flee from their subterranean nests and clump together in their hundreds to form floating “rafts” which are capable of ensuring their collective survival. These floating rafts are comprised of nothing more than the unadorned bodies of the panic-stricken ants, yet possess unique physical properties which dramatically abet…