It's pretty unlikely that the ants are actually trying to sacrifice themselves, though. "This is not a conscious decision by the ants," says Frank, who reported the behavior in February in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Normally when an ant gets hurt, it will stand up again, then call for help by releasing pheromones and allow its nestmates to scoop it up. When a seriously injured ant flails around, it is probably trying to stand up and failing, over and over again. "If you are able to stand up you are likely not too heavily injured so that you are still useful for the colony," Frank says.