Defensive rupturing or suicides are common among insects like termites, bees, and ants that can destroy themselves within a few seconds or minutes. Almost 15 species of self-sacrificing insects are identified, including Colobopsis explodens that can tear their bodies apart from the intersegmental fold and die immediately.
How Do Exploding Ants Explode? Exploding ants can explode by flexing their abdominal muscles, resulting in rupturing of the abdomen and releasing sticky material that covers the predator’s body and kill it. They do this for the survival of nestmates and habitat and explode in a few seconds after coming closer to a predator.
These ants are efficient at causing an explosion by changing the position of the abdomen and applying force on the muscles.
It leads to the sudden release of the acidic fluid stored in their abdomen, and it feels like they are spraying the fluid into the air.
How does an exploding ant explode?
A few ants are known for their suicidal behavior and come forward on the entry point to deal with the predators or attackers. They can burst themselves and rupture their bodies.
It is a defensive strategy by a specific group of ants that have been living on the planet for many years. It occurs when they flex the muscles of their abdomen.
The contraction of abdominal muscles leads to the bursting of the gaster, resulting in an explosion that feels like nothing to you, but it can lead to their death immediately.
They move the abdominal region upward, apply enough force to break it from the intersegmental fold and tear their bodies into two parts. As a result, the internal poison gland gets burst and releases poison.
In addition, the mandibular glands containing chemical secretions involved in the differentiation of fellows and foes can also rupture after abdominal constriction.
They will turn their abdominal ends towards the attacker by changing their backsides’ angle and allowing their muscles to constrict.
The pressure on the abdominal muscles triggers toxic material stored in the gland in different directions. This yellowish fluid appears yellowish in color and gets stuck on the predator’s body.
It has an irritating spicy or curry-like scent and sticky texture that can make predators comfortable and is toxic for them.
This fluid reacts with the predator’s skin tissues and alters the internal process, leading to death.
Why do exploding ants explode?
Ants have devised different strategies to protect themselves in a dangerous situation, as some prefer to fight by biting or stinging their predator and fight to the death.
They are one of the distinct species of insects known for their exploding behavior, as they can kill or offer themselves for war for the sake of colony protection.
It can be considered as the brave species having no fear of death and killing themselves when they feel a threat to the colony or nest mates.
They can sacrifice their lives for their loved ones in the colony and rupture their abdomens to cover the predator’s body with yellowish material, which is toxic and makes them die.
They prefer to rupture because they lack larger mandibles and stingers to bite and sting, so they use stored poison in their bodies and secrete it over their bodies.
The primary purpose of their life is to survive and make efforts to sustain the colony. Accordingly, a particular group of these insects emerges when they are predators.
It can be an organism from a different class or family in the taxonomic group, and even they can kill other insects from different species.
So, they do this by flexing their abdominal muscles and avoiding direct contact with predators with the other colony members because the attacker will die due to the toxicity of fluid.
What type of ants in a colony can explode themselves?
A group of exploding ants is identified and named yellow goo because they secrete a yellowish fluid from their abdominal glands.
Later, it got the scientific name Colobopsis explodens, ranked in the taxonomic group, and added to the class Insecta and Formicidae family.
A specific caste of their colony comes forward to sacrifice their lives that are present in a large number. It includes minor female workers protecting the colony from invaders’ attacks.
They are usually present at the entry point of the nest and leave the spots to enter the battlefield when they see an attacker from far.
Most minor workers leave their checkpoints and activities, run toward the predator, and stop at a distance. They will capture the body from different sides to restrict its movement.
A few of these workers begin to climb over its body while others maintain a grip on their legs. After that, they start flexing their abdomen muscles and apply sufficient force to cause an explosion.
Accordingly, the predator’s body gets covered in the yellowish goo, which can lead to a severe reaction and cause their body’s molecular breakdown.
Where do exploding ants live?
The exploding ants or a group of insects belonging to the genus Colobopsis are widely distributed in different regions of the world. Most commonly, they are present in South-East Asia.
Colobopsis saundersi is mainly present in Borneo and Malaysia and is known for a suicidal explosions like other species belonging to the genus Colobopsis.
Moreover, Colobopsis leonardi, the gatekeeper ant, can also rupture itself to protect the colony from predator attacks.
It is known as an arboreal ant because it lives in tropical rainforests and builds a nest within wood material going through a decaying process.
In addition, Colobopsis truncata is commonly present in Central and Eastern Europe and known as the doorkeeper ant that has the courage to explode and suicide for colony protection.
You can find them crawling in the open areas of forests and orchards as these arboreal species of insects prefer to live within trees and plants.
Furthermore, Colobopsis cylindrica are also reported for their explosive behavior as these canopy-dwelling ants can also sacrifice their lives to keep their colonies in running condition.
What foods make ants explode?
Ants can explode with some home ingredients that are used to prepare baits against these insects.
For example, baking soda is a toxic ingredient for them that can interfere with the digestive system.
It does not attract insects when used without any sweet substance, so powdered sugar is usually added to the baking powder to make a sweet and attractive bait that can attract insects.
The pleasing odor of sugar dominates the toxic smell of baking soda and allures these insects to come and grab their food.
Accordingly, these insects consume the granules of baking soda when ingesting the sugar particles because both are white and get properly mixed.
It reacts with acidic fluid in their stomach and causes an explosion as the reaction between baking soda, and digestive fluid of acidic nature can make them die.