Ant Poison Paralyzes Prey from a Distance
December 16, 2011
Ant-nest invaders are in for a shock when they mess with the African ant species Crematogaster striatula. These ants have venom so potent that it kills termites. This deadly chemical can kill at a distance when a group of ants approach the termite with their backsides pointed at it.
It comes from the Dufour gland, located near the worker ants’ stingers. The chemicals will paralyze and kill termites and also attract other ants for reinforcements. The ants use the chemicals the same way to repel alien ants. This research could lead to some natural insecticides that would not harm us for once.
The research showed that this chemical was more deadly to the termites than to other ants. That may be due to exposure since invader ants normally run away. The termites however, more often than not, stand their ground. When cornered, the ants were able to poison the termites from a distance of 0.2-to-0.4 inches (5-to-10 millimeters). The thin skin of the termite is also a factor that makes them more sensitive to absorbing the poison.
In this study, an ant went up against a termite, shot its deadly chemical and emitted chemicals to call on nearby ants. The termite died within 10 minutes after being poisoned. One ant approached, watching for the termite’s leg movements to slow. When it did, all of the ants approached to bring it back to their nest.