Scientists exploring the forests of Borneo have discovered a new species of ants that explode to protect their colonies from predatory insects.
However, the ability is extremely rare and no other exploding species has been described since the 1930s.
The rodents were discovered transporting wounded ants creating life rafts or bridges with their bodies, and sometimes even offering & ldquo; medical attention & rdquo; in a few instances. In the hierarchy of ants is a minor worker.
These species, known as "rdquo & Colobopsis explodens; are capable of rupturing their gut partitions to create a sticky toxic liquid which kills also themselves and predators". It's a final fatal act for our exploding protagonist, but the ant is truly going out in a blaze of glory; by deploying this form of chemical warfare, the ant does its part to protect the colony. Unlike the individuals of most species, who seek to preserve and proliferate their genes, ants and termites work on behalf of the entire colony; the loss of an individual, while not ideal, is secondary to the needs of the collective, which is why ants are referred to as a superorganism. These ants will not explode for any old reason.
The ants' peculiar behavior in battle was first described in 1916, but no new species had been cataloged since 1935, according to their study, which was published in the open access journal ZooKeys. An entomologist, Alice Laciny from the Natural History Museum in Vienna was also involved in the team of associated research.
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The team noticed that this species was "particularly prone to self-sacrifice when threatened by enemy arthropods, as well as intruding researchers".
The researchers report that not every member of the species goes bang. The researchers consider C. explodens to be a model species of exploding ant, which means it will now serve as a reference point, or an exemplar, for future research.
While minor workers had the ability to explode, other castes of the species had their own specialties in battle as well. For example, the so-called "major workers" have stumpy legs and huge heads in order to barricade nest entrances from intruders.
Zoologists have always been intrigued by such exploding ants first documented in Southeast Asian forests in 1916.
It is not easy to be an insect, especially as small as ants.