Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Ant vs. ant: Amazing discovery on Texas insects  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 15/02/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN -Arab News) For 60 years, imported red fire ants have terrorized people, livestock, and other ants as they spread across the southeastern United States, aggressively stinging those who got in their way and proving nearly invincible. But in Texas, these invasive pests have met their match — there, the tawny crazy ant is taking over. New research has revealed this newcomer’s secret weapon: A built-in antidote to the fire ant’s deadly venom

Like the fire ant, the tawny crazy ant hails from South America. Pest controller Tom Rasberry first spotted it in the United States in Houston, Texas, in 2002, and entomologists soon determined the same species was also invading Florida. They dubbed it “crazy” because of the ant’s erratic movements. Like the fire ant, the tawny crazy ant builds nests with lots of queens, so “it reaches really astronomical densities in the environments it invades,” says Edward LeBrun, an ecologist at the University of Texas, Austin

Unlike the fire ant, however, which stays outdoors, the tawny crazy ant is a “tramp” ant willing to take up residence almost anywhere— under logs, inside walls, and in circuit boxes, where they become so numerous they can short out electronic and electrical equipment. “From a societal perspective, it’s a real nuisance,” LeBrun says. Outdoors, tawny crazy ants decimate the populations of other invertebrates and have even been known to take over fire ant nests

LeBrun wondered how these upstart invaders were able to beat the fire ants, whose sting emits a toxin more potent than the insecticide DDT. To study how the two species duke it out, he ventured into the field and placed a dead cricket at the boundary between fire ant and tawny crazy ant territories. He noticed that after a fire ant swipes its opponent with its venom-filled stinger, the tawny crazy ant walks off, brings the tip of its abdomen up to its head, and squirts a drop of liquid onto its mouthparts. Then the ant runs its legs across its mouth and uses them to spread the liquid along its body

Suspecting an antidote to the fire ant venom, LeBrun tested the compounds secreted by the two glands at the tip of the tawny crazy ant’s abdomen. He took each compound and wiped it on a similar-sized ant that was subjected to the fire ant’s sting. When it came to neutralizing the fire ant venom, the key compound appeared to be the formic acid in the tawny crazy ant’s own less powerful venom, which it usually sprays out of a pore during battle, LeBrun and his colleagues report online today in Science. Synthetic formic acid also has the same protective effect

Fire ant venom contains not just toxic compounds but also proteins that help get those compounds inside cells. LeBrun suspects the formic acid destroys these proteins, so the toxins can’t reach their targets. A few other animals are known to counter the effects of the toxins of their competitors, predators, or prey, but they do so by preventing the toxin from binding to their target molecules, not by chemically breaking down the poison, says Ashlee Rowe, an evolutionary neurobiologist at Michigan State University in East Lansing who was not involved in the work. “I think this example is unique.

LeBrun suspects that this detoxification behavior evolved in the tawny crazy ant in South America, where the two ants have been in close contact for a long time.

Jules Silverman, an entomologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, who was not involved in the work, isn’t so sure. “It’s possible that this same mechanism that these researchers observe in the US occurs in the native range, but maybe not. Maybe it’s new.

One study did show, however, that while the fire ant usually dominates its native landscapes, it can still be laid low by the tawny crazy ant, suggesting that their detoxification defense is used there as well. “It would be fascinating to go back to South America and watch these interactions more carefully,” says Michael Kaspari, an entomologist at the University of Oklahoma, Norman. Meanwhile, it looks like “this 60-year dynasty of the fire ants [in the United States] is coming to a close, and it’s coming to a close in a fairly unusual way.”


 


Arab News




  MENA News Headlines
 Oct 23 2014 - Kuwait- Equates wins two regional sustainability awardsKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Kuwait's EQUATE Petrochemical Company has won two regional sustainability awards in recognition for its social responsibility and national cadres' skills ...

 Oct 23 2014 - Moroccan horse showThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Moroccan horsemen perform during the 7th edition of the "Salon du Cheval" (horse show) in the port city of El Jadida. ...

 Oct 23 2014 - Kuwaiti Jazeera Airways net profit up 22.6 percent in Q3MENAFN
(MENAFN) Kuwait-based Al Jazeera Airways group announced it has registered USD28 million in net profit for the July-September period of this year, an increase by 22.6 percent compared to the same ...

 Oct 23 2014 - Qatar- Lekhwiya defeat Al Wakra, Wolves heldThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Lekhwiya defeated Al Wakra 2-0 at their home ground here yesterday while Al Sadd were held 1-1 by Al Sailiya.Vadimir Weiss scored in the 68th minute for Lekhwiya and Ahmed ...

 Oct 23 2014 - Ooredoo Kuwait net profit falls by almost half in Q3MENAFN
(MENAFN) Ooredoo Kuwait, the country's No.3 telecom operator by subscribers, announced that its net profit fell by nearly half during the July-September period, Gulf Business reported.The ...

 Oct 23 2014 - Coach asks Qatar to give it all against DPR KoreaThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Qatar's coach Felix Sanchez Bas has called on his players to give their all one-last time ahead of today's AFC U-19 Championship final against three-time winners DPR Korea. ...

 Oct 23 2014 - Qatar- Handball: Doha gears up for Asian Club LeagueThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Defending champions Al Jaish - thanks to the draw - have managed to avoid a meeting with local opponents Lekhwiya and Al Gharafa in the group stage of the 17th Asian Clubs ...

 Oct 23 2014 - QIMC posts USD38.88m net profit in SeptemberMENAFN
(MENAFN) Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company (QIMC) revealed the interim financial statements for the period ending in September 30, this year, QNA reported.The interim financial statements ...

 Oct 23 2014 - Qatar will deliver an impressive 2022 World Cup, says BrescianoThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Australian midfielder Mark Bresciano is confident that Qatar will deliver an 'impressive' World Cup eight years down the line.Bresciano, who has been playing for the last two ...

 Oct 23 2014 - Qatar- QP hosts team from Kuwait Oil CompanyThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Qatar Petroleum (QP) recently hosted a delegation from Kuwait Oil Company (KOC) who visited Qatar to gain insights on QP's marine activities and port operations.Mubarak ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help