[ExI] ants again

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Mon Apr 2 03:26:59 UTC 2018


Recall about 4 yrs ago when I tested the theory that perhaps ants engaged in
intra-species combat would not bite or sting (some types of ants can do
both.)  My reasoning was that bees will not sting when they are in the
process of swarming (they are single-minded beasts, with a job (find a new
place to build a hive.))  I reasoned that ants in battle have a job: find
some bitch from the other colony and fight.  Perhaps they would not bite,
nor could even be compelled to do so.


Back then, I verified my notion: I scooped a bunch of warring ants into my
hand, never could get them to bite.


This evening right at dusk, I noticed there was another battle, right about
where a similar war took place last year and the year before, but this time
it was late in the day.  Bees are more likely to sting at the end of the
day.  They don't fly in the dark, but they crawl until they find something
to sting.  So. I reasoned that since bees and ants evolved from a common
ancestor, perhaps ants could be compelled to sting at dusk, just as bees
seem determined to do if they can.



So I tried it this evening at dusk and discovered the answer: ants won't
bite even at dusk if they are involved in battle.


Or rather these won't, apparently.


So here's what I still don't know: will other species of ants behave
likewise?  Some species of ants have both a sting and a bite.  As far as I
can tell these ants shown have only a bite, and even that seems a bit
half-hearted, never eagerly engaged upon (you hafta hassle these gals a bit
to get them to chomp down on you.)  But. the good old Florida fire ant is
what I don't know about.  Those bitches will also go to war, but they don't
seem to go at it like these local black pismires.  On the other hand, they
are aggressive as all get out, and will bite and sting eagerly.  If I
scooped a handful while they were warring, would they sting but not bite?
They could maintain a mandible lock on an opponent and sting at the same
time perhaps?  Or perhaps they need to bite in order to sting?  They need to
hang on to something in order to drive in the stinger.


In any case it gives me an idea: perhaps if we could somehow figure out what
chemical pheromone ants use to tell each other to go to war would be a way
to make them harmless?



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