Defense technique helps recent invader stomp out fire ants
Tawny crazy ants pick fights with fire ants and win, thanks to a previously unknown way of detoxifying fire ant venom.
When dabbed with venom from fire ants, crazy ants of the species Nylanderia fulva curl their hind ends up between their legs and secrete droplets of formic acid, says ecologist Edward LeBrun of the University of Texas at Austin. The ants then give themselves vigorous rubdowns, smearing the acid on their bodies, LeBrun and his colleagues report February 13 in Science. Most survive the attack.