Michael Angilletta of Indiana State University, a U.S.-led team of international biologists, says some ants have adjusted to well to urban warming and may help other species adapt to such climate change.
The researchers note large cities can be more than 10 degrees hotter than their surroundings, with such urban heat islands stressing animals and plants.
The scientists discovered that ants in Sao Paulo, Brazil, South America's largest city, can tolerate heat better than ants from elsewhere. That finding suggests Sao Paulo ants have adjusted physiologically in response to urban warming.
"We don't know whether this pattern will hold up for other species or other cities, but people should certainly be looking," said Angilletta, an associate professor of ecology and organismal biology. "Ultimately, this research could help us to understand how species will respond to global climate change."