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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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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.
See more ScienceShots.