Latest Issue of Science News


News

FOR KIDS: Night of the living ants

Chemicals make the difference between life and death for these insects

When an ant dies, other ants move the dead insect out of the nest. Sometimes, the dead ant gets moved away very soon — within an hour of dying. This behavior is interesting to scientists, who wonder how ants know for sure — and so soon — that another ant is dead.

One scientist recently came up with a way to explain this ant behavior. Dong-Hwan Choe is a biologist, a scientist who studies living things, at the University of California, Riverside. Choe found that Argentine ants have a chemical on the outside of their bodies that signals to other ants, “I’m dead — take me away.”

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.