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Swarm Intelligence (SI) inspired routing algorithms have become a research focus in recent years due to their self-organizing nature, which is very suitable to the routing problems in Mobile Ad hoc Networks (MANETs). The network information can be collected and updated in a decentralized and dynamic way through the localized cooperation among these swarm agents. In this paper, we, for the first time, provide a comprehensive comparison about current SI inspired routing algorithms in MANETs in the aspects of network metrics and simulation environment. Then, we make a detailed study about the energy consumption of the SI inspired routing problem in MANETs. Based on this study, we present the selection criterion of the intermediate nodes so as to be energy efficient. Experimental results are provided with reasonable verification.