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Nature & Environment

New species of 'exploding ant' discovered

By T.K. Randall
April 20, 2018 · Comment icon 10 comments

The species is native to the rainforests of Borneo. Image Credit: Laciny et al., ZooKeys, 2018
Capable of taking drastic action to protect their colonies, these ants have a rather unusual defense mechanism.
Unlike other ants which typically bite in an effort to deter attackers, these bizarre tree-dwellers latch on to an enemy, tear open their own body and then secrete a toxic substance all over them.

Unsurprisingly, the defending ant does not survive the process.

Named Colobopsis explodens, the species was discovered by PhD student Alice Laciny and colleagues at the Natural History Museum in Vienna.

"It's a bit like the mechanism of when a bee stings," she said.

"An ant colony shouldn't be treated as a family of individuals, but really like a super organism, and each ant acts more like a cell in a body and it has its own role to play."

Source: | Comments (10)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Tom the Photon 5 years ago
With such a sensational headline - why no video?
Comment icon #2 Posted by Timonthy 5 years ago
You missed it, they provided a link to the video in the article:
Comment icon #3 Posted by BadChadB33 5 years ago
That's a bit dramatic, don't you think?
Comment icon #4 Posted by Farmer77 5 years ago
Wait they smell like curry? I smell opportunity $$$$$$$
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
Kamikaze ants! Let's breed giant ones and send them to fight our wars. What could go wrong?
Comment icon #6 Posted by toast 5 years ago
As long as they are not as tall as a cow, we can stay relaxed.
Comment icon #7 Posted by newbloodmoon 5 years ago
I bet they were bred by the notorious Paiso Goblins.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Stiff 5 years ago
Ants never fail to fascinate me the more I learn about them. Remarkable creatures. It's a good job they're only the size they are!
Comment icon #9 Posted by I'mConvinced 5 years ago
Oh yeah? Guess you didn't see this documentary then:
Comment icon #10 Posted by Stiff 5 years ago
Ha ha! And a rare scene where Joan Collins actually has some clothes on.

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