Heroic altruistic ants die alone to save colonyFebruary 16th, 2010 - 12:52 pm ICT by ANI
London, Feb 16 (ANI): It’s not just action movie heroes who face death alone to save their people. Scientists have found that ants act in a similarly altruistic fashion when stricken with disease.
They discovered that when ants of the species Temnothorax unifasciatus get sick, they abandon their nest, walking far away from their relatives to die alone.
They perform this act of heroism to prevent the illness that is killing them from spreading to the colony.
The discovery by Professor Jurgen Heinze and PhD student Bartosz Walter is the first time that such behaviour has been shown in ants or any other social insect.
During the study, researchers exposed a colony of Temnothorax unifasciatus ants reared in their laboratory to the spores of a lethal parasitic fungus called Metarhizium anisopliae.
Most of the workers who died from the fungal infection permanently left the nest hours or days before death, and died in a foraging area far from their nest mates.
“Our study suggests that infected ants at least in some species walk away from a colony and die alone, rather than risk infecting others,” the BBC quoted Prof Heinze as saying.
The study has been published in Current Biology. (ANI)
- Fungus turn rainforest ants into zombies - May 09, 2011
- Engineered fungus to be a potent tool against malaria - Feb 28, 2011
- Transgenic fungi may help fight malaria: Study - Feb 25, 2011
- Bees 'self-medicate' when infected - Apr 02, 2012
- Dispersing fungal spores over water kills malaria mosquito larvae - Feb 21, 2011
- Fungal parasite turns ants into zombies - Aug 12, 2009
- Fungal parasite grows by causing ants to die in the right spot - Aug 12, 2009
- 48mn-year-old fossil reveals history of zombie ants - Aug 19, 2010
- Ants can smell out rivals - Feb 23, 2012
- Stop fungal disease in crops, feed 600 million - Apr 12, 2012
- Silverfish steal ants' scent as well food - Dec 01, 2011
- Bee colony collapse linked with viral, fungal infection - Oct 09, 2010
- Ant communities have suicide bombers too! - Jul 14, 2010
- Ants that carry anti fungal bacteria could be key to advances in biofuels and antibiotics - Mar 30, 2009
- Tracking evolution of deadly fungus which is one of world's major killers - May 04, 2011
Tags: ants, bbc, current biology, discovery, fashion, fungal infection, heinze, heroes, heroism, jurgen, london feb, mates, parasitic fungus, phd student, relatives, scientists, social insect, spores, study researchers, study suggests that