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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
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ScienceShot: Toxic Spider Webs Keep Ants at Bay
22 November 2011 7:00 pm
Spiders are superb artisans, weaving ethereal webs from silk finer than human hair. Now it appears that arachnids also excel at making chemical weapons. Researchers have found that the golden orb-web spider (Nephila antipodiana), a species common in tropical Asia, coats its silk with a toxic substance to deter hungry ants. The secret ingredient is a compound known as 2-pyrrolidinone, which is also made by gypsy-moth caterpillars to ward off predatory ants. When the researchers presented three types of ants with spider-silk "bridges," the insects refused to cross those soaked in 2-pyrrolidinone, the team reports online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. The chemical is probably physically unpleasant to the ants' antennae, which helps the spiders keep their meals to themselves.
See more ScienceShots.