Quotes: 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
 Aug 31 2015 - Alleged Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis member killed in CairoDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) student, named as Ahmed Abdel Hakim, was killed Saturday on suspicion of being a member of the extremist group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, the Ministry of Interior ...

 Aug 31 2015 - Egypt- To those who will not read these wordsDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) I've often stared at a blank page recently, just as blankly as the uniform whiteness looked back at me, as I thought how to smear it with something meaningful. My words ...

 Aug 31 2015 - Egypt- Implementation of 3 roads in national plan progressesDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) The implementation rate of the three EGP 3.5bn roads that are under construction has increased, as part of the national plan for developing the road network, Minister of ...

 Aug 31 2015 - Egypt- Eni invests $7bn to develop Shorouk in 3 yearsDaily News Egypt
(MENAFN - Daily News Egypt) Italian oil company Eni aims to invest around $7bn during three years to excavate the privilege area of Shorouk in the deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea.The petroleum ...

 Aug 31 2015 - Jordan- 8,000 Syrian refugee students in Mafraq schoolsJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) Some 8,000 new Syrian refugee pupils are enrolled in government schools in Mafraq, joining tens of thousands of Jordanian peers in schools in the northern district as ...

 Aug 31 2015 - India- Flipkart customers to get refund within 24 hours nowKNN India
(MENAFN - KNN India) Flipkart customers will now get refunds as early as within 24 hours of returning the product as the e-commerce giant today launched its instant refund mechanism facility. ...

 Aug 31 2015 - 'Make in India' should also focus on 'Make in India Strategies for Indian healthcare': Jitendra SinghKNN India
(MENAFN - KNN India) India's healthcare sector is expected to be USD 280 billion in size by 2020, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 16 per cent, but it is in "dire need" of right policy ...

 Aug 31 2015 - Jordan- King, Abbas discuss efforts to jumpstart Mideast peace processJordan News Agency
(MENAFN - Jordan News Agency) His Majesty King Abdullah II met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday to discuss efforts to kickstart the stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace process and pledged to ...

 Aug 31 2015 - Israeli Occupation Authorities Arrest Two PalestiniansQatar News Agency
(MENAFN - Qatar News Agency) Israeli occupation forces today arrested two Palestinians and caused many citizens to suffocate during the suppression of a peaceful demonstration which started in the ...

 Aug 31 2015 - Reliance Group to explore QatarThe Peninsula
(MENAFN - The Peninsula)The Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani meeting Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Chairman of Reliance Group yesterday in Doha. ...

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

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

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
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


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


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help