Crazy Ants Survive Fire Ant Venom

crazy antsThe crazy ants in Texas can render themselves immune to the venom of the fierce fire ant. The crazy ants have been slowly invading Texas and neighboring Gulf states. Fire ants used to reign over this territory. Now they are being pushed aside by the raspberry crazy ant invasion. Both species of ants were originally found in southern Brazil and Northern Argentina.

The crazy ants have recently showed up in massive numbers. They are finding new homes in various locations across the south. These ants are affecting the everyday lives of people living in the infested areas. Crazy ants have been found in pipes and in an enormous amount of electrical equipment. In some cases, these ants eat directly through insulation and cause short circuits and mechanical troubles.

Crazy ants are sometimes referred to as raspberry crazy ants. Tom Rasberry is an exterminator from Texas who had originally discovered them. Crazy ants are named “crazy” because of the way they move about erratically.

Edward Lebrun, an ecologist from the University of Texas, discovered why the crazy ants could survive the wrath of the fire ant. The crazy ants are able to be victorious over the fire ants by surviving the fire ant’s venom. The crazy ants create their own protective shield.

In the study, a dead cricket was put into the area close to both the fire ants and the crazy ants. The fire ants dove in quickly and grabbed onto the cricket. They were all in a feeding frenzy.

The crazy ants were struck by the venom from the fire ants. They did not die. The crazy ants took a surprising and different approach to the fire ants. First, the crazy ants discharged formic acid and then pulled it into their mouths. Then the crazy ants would run their legs through their own mouths and spread the formic acid over the rest of their bodies. This gave them an antidote to the poison venom that the fire ant produced. The poison from the fire ants venom could not penetrate and kill the crazy ants. All of the crazy ants survived.

The crazy ants are sometimes known as Nylanderia fulva. They have also been called a tawny crazy ant. There are times when the crazy ants are packed so tightly together that it is hard to recognize them as being ants. Once they start moving around, they can be easily spotted.

Colonies of crazy ants can sometimes be seen inside of the fire ant mounds. This is alarming to some researchers and scientists. It could possibly mean that the crazy ants are snatching live nests away from the fire ants.

The crazy ants’ ability to produce a chemical that protects them, also gives them the ability to use it as a weapon. Crazy ants are able to spray this chemical at various enemies. The acidic substance exudes from the part of their bodies where a stinger can be found on other ant types. This gives the Rasberry crazy ant a powerful and deadly weapon.

Crazy ants live in colonies with multiple queens. Their colonies are tremendously larger than native ant colonies. The crazy ant has now been found to possess the ability to survive the venom of the fire ant. Scientists believe this ability comes from the evolution of the two species being at war with each other. The ants can sometimes be found under and inside of potted plants and possibly attached to outdoor objects. This is one way they are able to move from location to location.

by Saki Kahala

Sources:

Science Recorder
International Business Times
USA Today

2 Responses to "Crazy Ants Survive Fire Ant Venom"

  1. Ron McCallister   February 16, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Fix your typo: “raspberry” crazy ants

    Reply
  2. P.F.   February 16, 2014 at 10:19 am

    This has got to be one of the worst articles I have ever read. Its simple and repetitive sentence structure is echoed by the repetition of facts. Okay, they are called crazy ants. Are raspberry crazy ants the same as tawny crazy ants? Who calls them Nylanderia fulva? What happened to the fire ants that failed to kill the crazy ants? Nothing? Crazy ants posess a powerful and deadly weapon! They have killed people? No? Maybe? Is the author named Saki Mahala, as in the by-line, saki Kahha, who posted it, or Saki Kahaa, which the author URL points to? Is she a precocious 11-year-old? A non-native English speaker? Or un underpaid hack padding an article to the 400 word goal for pseudo-scientific click-baiting?

    Reply

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