01/17/2014 - 11:25

The biological term “symbiosis” refers to what economists and politicians usually call a win-win situation: a relationship between two partners which is beneficial to both. The mutualistic association between acacia plants and the ants that live on them is an excellent example: The plants provide food and accommodation in the form of food bodies and nectar as well as hollow thorns which can be used as nests. The ants return this favour by protecting the plants against herbivores. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany, have now found that ants also keep harmful leaf pathogens in check.


03/09/2012 - 10:25
Foraging desert ants always find their way back to the nest, even when it is only marked by a magnetic cue, vibration, or carbon dioxide.


01/08/2012 - 16:46

Researchers, led by McGill biology professor Ehab Abouheif, have found ants that are biological anomalies with supersoldier-like characteristics in unexpected regions. And, more importantly, researchers have discovered they can induce supersoldiers in Pheidole ant species that never had them before.

12/02/2011 - 11:04

Together with his doctoral student, Christoph von Beeren, Witte has now shown that silverfish that form close associations with ants do not make the odor compounds themselves. Instead, they steal them directly from their hosts, in this case an Asian species of army ant. Simply by rubbing itself against the surface cuticle of colony members, the silverfish picks up the characteristic mixture of chemicals that identifies the bearer as an inhabitant. This enables the intruder to successfully infiltrate and become socially integrated into the nest.

11/01/2011 - 13:04

A common pest in the mainland United States known for its tropical smell now has a tropical habitat to go along with it. Odorous house ants - so called because they tend to invade houses and smell like coconut when smashed - have found their way to Hawaii. And, according to Purdue University entomologist Grzegorz Buczkowski, it doesn't seem as though they have plans to end their vacations.


07/20/2011 - 06:45

New research published today in Nature Communications online journal suggests that monogamy and close genetic relationships work together to enhance the cooperative social structure of insects such as bees, wasps and ants. Known as haplodiploid animals because males develop from unfertilised eggs and have half the number of chromosomes that females have, the insect colonies are characterised as having a single queen and multiple drones.