Exploding Ants Sacrifice Their Lives To Protect Colony

Posted: Apr 23 2018, 8:23am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 23 2018, 10:21am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Exploding Ants Sacrifice Their Lives to Protect Colony
Exploding behavior of C. explodens in experimental setting with a weaver ant. Credit: Alexey Kopchinskiy CC-BY 4.0 via ScienceDaily
  • Newly discovered species of exploding ant tear their own body apart to release toxins and either kill or hold off the enemy

Recent Discovery of Exploding Ants of Borneo which Defy the Imagination. These newly discovered species of ant from Borneo, called the 'Exploding Ants', can actually tear their own body apart to protect their colony.

Most people who have ants in their homes know what a nuisance they can be. These are annoying pests that eat up and swarm on anything that contains the least amount of nutrients.

Yet, how would you feel if these ants started to explode?

It would be the grossest of acts. A species of Southeast Asian ants which live on trees are renowned for just this terrifying tendency.

There are several subspecies within the group but they all have one common habit: when threatened, their abdomens rupture and out comes a sticky, slimy substance that is truly toxic.

While this bad habit kills the ants right away, it also happens to harm the living entity attacking them. Ants are social insects. This process is called “autothysis” which translates to a form of self-sacrifice.

Although when this species was originally discovered in 1935, it was thought to be unique in the insect kingdom. Yet now we know better. Recently, over a dozen different subspecies have been discovered and they all share this self-exploding habit.

One of them which was found in Borneo recently is in particular very explicit in its self-explosive tendencies. Its sticky yellow slime spreads far and wide when its abdomen bursts all of a sudden.

Ants tend to be an intelligent species that are organized and also cater to their wounded comrades. They are a pest as well and infest homes. It is difficult to get rid of them once they find a way into your residence.

It is a relief for people that most ants do not explode like this recently discovered variety of exploding ants. These self-detonating ants clasp onto the fronts of creatures bigger than themselves. Then the exploding ants manage to release a spray of yellow toxic slime which oftentimes vanquishes these creatures.

The details about exploding ants are revealed in a paper that got published in the journal ZooKeys.

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