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Mobile ad hoc network (MANET) is a group of mobile nodes which communicates with each other without any supporting infrastructure. Routing in MANETs. is extremely challenging because of MANETs. dynamic features, its limited bandwidth and power energy. MANET nodes operating on battery try to pursue the energy efficiency heuristically by reducing the energy they consumed. Literature shows though they maintain acceptable performance of certain tasks, for multi-hop routing this is not optimal strategy. Nature-inspired algorithms (swarm intelligence) such as ant colony optimization (ACO) algorithms have shown to be a good technique for developing routing algorithms for MANETs. Swarm intelligence is a computational intelligence technique that involves collective behavior of autonomous agents that locally interact with each other in a distributed environment to solve a given problem in the hope of finding a global solution to the problem. We propose an energy efficient routing algorithm for MANETs based on ACO for minimizing energy consumption of the nodes and prolong the life of the overall communication system. The performance of the proposed algorithm is simulated on the network tool NS2 and is also compared with existing algorithm's performance.