Ants have been seen healing wounded trees in Panama – behavior that is believed to never have been observed before. When holes were drilled into Cecropia tree trunks, the ants emerged from their homes to patch up the wounds, significantly reducing the size of the holes within 2 ½ hours and leaving them completely healed within 24 hours. Azteca ants and Cecropia trees are known to have a symbiotic relationship, with the ants using their trees as homes. The surprise discovery was accidental, taking place when teenager Alex Wcislo unexpectedly hit a Cecropia tree with his slingshot, and noticed the hole it made in the tree was almost gone after a day. He and five friends devised an experiment to investigate further, with the help of William Wcislo, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The senior scientist reported that while there are many examples of insects and other animals repairing their homes if damaged, only a few of these using other living species as housing: "To my knowledge, this is the first time home repair behavior has been shown to fix living partners."

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