The Matabele ant’s strict termite diet means many of these ants’ days are spent in dangerous raids on these combative insects. The termites are no pushovers, which leaves many ants wounded after each raid. Researchers recently found that injured ants are often carried back to the nest by their fellow soldiers. Now they have discovered that once back at the nest, the injured ants’ wounds are treated by their nestmates, who spend time grooming the open wounds to clear debris, adding antimicrobial chemicals, and removing any pesky termites. And the treatment works. Ants treated within the first hour had a mortality rate of 10%, while ants that received no treatment had a mortality rate of 80%. Researchers found that lightly injured ants altered their behavior when near a returning column of ants. When nest-mates were close, they slowed their pace dramatically, signaling that they’re injured If the ants passed them by without help, the injured ant immediately started walking faster, following them back to the nest. Ants that lost five or more limbs in a termite battle were rarely helped back to the nest. Normally, when an injured ant is found, it curls up into a ball to allow for easy transport. Heavily injured ants, however, flail their remaining limbs about and spin on their backs, becoming so uncooperative that they’re left behind. Moving forward, researchers hope to find out if this grooming behavior simply prevents infection after termite skirmishes or if it could also be an effective treatment if an infectious disease attacks the colony.