Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Smart Ant

    Ants are found almost all over the world. I have no problem with them, until I see one in my house.. Anyways, they have such an important part in the environment. They spread seeds and any remains they leave behind become deposits in the soil. They can even lift objects way, way larger and heavier than themselves. Ants have always baffled scientists due to their ability to communicate as individuals, and solve complex problems. Ants even have a clear class system. To us any form of intelligent life on our planet is interesting because we as humans outclass every organism on the planet.
    Recently a team of scientists in Melbourne have discovered something really cool about ants, and it has to do with their antennae. Up until recently most scientists agreed the antenna was a vital organ of the ant. Allowing it to pick up stimuli and sense its surrounding. It has been found out however that ants actually can send signals out of their antennae to other ants too.
    The scientists discovered this through the study of cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs). These are carbons that cover many insects like ants, bees, and flies. It protects insects from dehydration and helps with communication. Ants use these chemicals and their antennae to sense if the other insect is friend or foe. By taking away the CHCs from the antennae of one ant and putting it back in with the others, the scientists of Melbourne were able to watch as all the Ants failed to identify its colony of origin.
     Ants can two way identify with one another on a small scale. I don't know if my mind is the only one that's blown. It just seems wicked crazy to me that insects can have such a level of communication. I guess we always knew they could communicate effectively, but not how. They really are some smart ants.


Resources:
http://phys.org/news/2016-03-ant-antennae-vital-id.html
 http://www.onekind.org/education/animals_a_z/ant/

Posted by: Nick Michienzi

8 comments:

  1. This is an interesting topic. I am not surprised that ants communicate in a complex way. This tiny organism that keeps trying and trying to carry its food to its home and that lines up when going from one place to the other definitely is an organized and smart organism. It was good to know about cuticular hydrocarbons and their function in commination.

    Mohammed Saleh

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  2. Nick,

    In all honesty, I never really new much about ants to begin with. It really gets you to think about how complex such a small insect is. The cuticular hydrocarbons function is a very interesting component of ant communication. This also makes me wonder about other insects and the ways they communicate.

    Cara Murphy (3)

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  3. What's more astounding then the degree of communication ants and other creatures have is the one or two chemicals that can drastically alter an organism's state of being. They don't seem to be so smart without these cuticular hydrocarbons.

    Allen Currier

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    Replies
    1. That is actually a really good point. When I first was reading into this and trying to wrap my head around it I kept thinking in the way that ants had brains and were able to think. That is not necessarily the case.

      reply by Nick Michienzi

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  4. I think that it is really amazing that ants can communicate so efficiently. They are able to make colonies and help one another survive. This is something that other organism can't do. Also I think that it is really interesting that if you took away the CHCs the organisms wouldn't be able to communicate. How do the ants know by the chemicals in their feelers that an organism is friend or foe?

    Caitlyn Cordaro (1)

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    Replies
    1. Not sure exactly. I know it just has to do with a CHC belonging to their own colony. And if there is a signature sensed that does not belong, it is a foe. CHC's vary between insects. And humans don't have them like insects do. That's why ants never swarm us as enemies, but maybe one might crawl around on us.

      Reply by Nick Michienzi

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  5. It is amazing to know that these tiny insects have a specific way of communicating with each other and are part of this whole other world of its own. Ants are just little insects to us and we sometimes forget to know that they have a certain way of living that is even at the molecular level.

    Sarah Ona

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