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Termites and Ants

Mar 12, 2015

An instinctual sense of solidarity that has been ingrained among living organisms also plays an important role among termites. They display an amazing form of cooperation in matters like foraging and defense. As termites live in colonies, they follow a particular arrangement of duties. The queen is in charge of new generations, worker meet the nests need, and soldiers are responsible for its defensive tasks. One of the termites defense mechanisms, which amazed scientist was recently discovered in June 2012.

 

The workers of this species are, in a sense, enlisted to military duty when they “retire” due to old age and in inability to forage due to weakened mouths, they serve the defense of the nest as something of a chemical weapon specialist. When the colony is under attack, these veterans blow up a droplet size balloon filled with a type of chemical generated in between segments of their neck and dorsal region. When worker termites get older, blue crystal chambers, which resembles backpacks grow on their two shoulder blades on their backs.

 

These crystals are a kind of protein called hemocyanin that contains copper, and they join together with saliva when under threat. This fusion causes a chemical reaction. The end product is a sticky liquid, like gel.

 

Researchers from Oregon University (USA) reported that the mouth of an ant is worn down by age. When this occurs, these senior individuals, which used to cut leaves, now take on different jobs, like carrying the leaves. Leaf cutter ants, which are also known as the ranches of the animal kingdom their ability to cultivate fungi in their nests, can cut and carry leaves whose weight can be up to 50 times their body weight.

 

The leaves that are transported to the nest comprise the main ingredient required for the growth of fungi in a suitable environment regulated for the right temperature and humidity. This fungi is ultimately used to feed the colony. This is a fine example of senior members of the community staying active in a new role. And this is not just unique to termites: research shows that members of animals societies adapt to changes in their lives, and continue serving their colonies even if they lose some dexterity

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