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24 April 2014 11:45 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Major climate data sets have underestimated the rate of global warming in the last 15 years owing largely to poor data...
The tsetse fly is best known as the vector for the trypanosome parasites that cause sleeping sickness and a disease in...
The National Institutes of Health is revising its "two strikes" rule, which allowed researchers only one chance to...
By stabilizing the components of retromers, molecular complexes that act like recycling bins in cells, a recently...
Fossil fuels power modern society by generating heat, but much of that heat is wasted. Semiconductor devices called...
Researchers are gaining insights into what made Supertyphoon Haiyan so powerful and devastating through post-storm...
Millions around the world got a first-hand look at what it was like to be in Tacloban while it was pummeled by...
- 24 April 2014 11:45 am , Vol. 344 , #6182
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ScienceShot: Ant 'Gas Gun' Paralyzes Prey
14 December 2011 5:00 pm
Some ants don't fight fair. Scientists have discovered that a common African ant deploys a powerful venom to kill termites—at long range. At the edge of forests in Cameroon, researchers saw gangs of up to 15 ants (Crematogaster striatula) waft a venomous vapor from their stingers at a termite. The ants then watched from a safe distance as the much-larger victim became paralyzed, died, and later dragged back to their nest (seen in picture), the researchers report today in PLoS ONE. The remote-action poison allows the ants to kill prey without exposing themselves to harm. Even the threat of the poison seemed to scare off enemies, including other species of ants, which abandoned drops of honey when confronted with a loaded C. striatula stinger. The researchers hope that once the paralyzing molecule is identified, their discovery will lead to new insecticides effective against pests that shrug off older products.
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