In Borneo found a new species of ant-kamikaze

23 April, 2018, 12:58 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • A major worker of Colobopsis explodens with its characteristically enlarged head

Scientists simply referred to the ants as members of a group named Colobopsis cylindrica-better known as the exploding ants. The process kills the ant, but it can also kill or hamper an invading insect. Only the minor workers are able to rupture their body wall.

After years of tracking and studying ant colonies in the humid jungles of Southeast Asia, scientists finally described the Colobopsis explodens species for the first time earlier this week, in an article published on the journal ZooKeys.

Nature has invented some wonky defense mechanisms, but ants that explode raise the concept to a new level of horror. At the origin of this discovery, Alice Laciny, doctoral student at the Museum of Natural History in Vienna, responsible for the identification of this species with a particular warrior customs.

"Imagine a single ant is like a cell in a human body", Laciny tells Chiu.

"They are filled with a sticky and toxic defensive secretion". These ants will not explode for any old reason.




These ants is known that explode to eliminate the opponent.

However, not all ants from this species give up their lives - it is only the minor workers who have the ability to sacrifice themselves to protect other members of the colony.

This self-destructing behaviour has a name-scientists call this "autothysis"-a suicidal behaviour that has been documented in other termites". The new species earned this designation because it's particularly prone to self-sacrifice when threatened (minor workers of this species even blew themselves up when researchers got too close). The researchers consider C. explodens to be a model species of exploding ant, which means it'll now serve as a reference point, or an exemplar, for future research.

"It is still not clear why they are doing this, but we already discovered several new species of very interesting fungi that are growing on this foliage". For example, the so-called "major workers" have stumpy legs and huge heads in order to barricade nest entrances from intruders.

Findings about more species, as well as details about the ants' behaviour, anatomy, evolution and the chemical composition of their weaponized goo, are set to be shared in the near future.

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