Worker ants can kill termitesDecember 15th, 2011 - 1:00 pm ICT by IANS
London, Dec 15 (IANS) Worker ants from an African species can paralyse and kill termites from afar due to a potent venom they carry, reveals new research that could prove helpful in the search for natural insecticides.
The study led by researcher Angelique Vetillard of the University of Toulouse, France, characterised the specific chemicals in the venom, providing initial clues about the source of the venom toxicity.
“The implications are promising because they provide a basis from which further studies can be conducted in the search for natural insecticides, including new molecules effective against insects resistant to currently-used insecticides,” said Vetillard.
The research based on Crematogaster striatula species showed that chemicals in the worker ants’ arsenal have three functions: they attract nearby nestmates; repel alien ants; and paralyse and kill termites, the journal Public Library of Science reported.
While the first two require the ants to come into direct contact with the chemical, it appears that the termite effect can occur from afar, said a university statement.
This is important because while alien ants competing for sugary food sources will retreat upon sensing the chemical, termites remain and defend their territory.
The long-range activity of the ant venom protects them from the termites without having to come into direct contact.
- Spiders' cobweb chemical repels invading ants - Nov 27, 2011
- Ants can smell out rivals - Feb 23, 2012
- Ground beetles can produce orange-scented aromas as predator repellents - Aug 14, 2009
- Ants use chemical weapon to vanquish invaders - Jun 09, 2011
- Ants, termites have positive impact on crop yields in dryland agriculture - Apr 03, 2011
- How ants identify dead nestmates - May 06, 2009
- Ant communities have suicide bombers too! - Jul 14, 2010
- Desert ants use magnetic cues to return home - Mar 11, 2012
- Acacia plant can release chemicals to stop ants from interfering in pollination - Dec 28, 2009
- Ants really do scare elephants - Sep 03, 2010
- Why some termites become queens and others don't - Jul 09, 2010
- Deadly scorpion venom used to develop safe, ecological pesticide - Jan 12, 2010
- 'Wimpy' drywood termites eavesdrop to avoid aggressive cousins - Aug 27, 2009
- How cheating ants get caught red-handed - Jan 09, 2009
- Ants defend their host tree - May 22, 2011
Tags: african species, arsenal, chemicals, direct contact, food sources, further studies, insects, london, molecules, natural insecticides, public library of science, researcher, termite, termites, toulouse france, university of toulouse, venom toxicity, worker ants