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Crazy ants cover themselves in acid to heal wounds after battle

14
Feb
2014

A new study shows that tawny crazy ants — also known as Nylanderia fulva in Latin — use secretions of formic acid to detoxify wounds sustained in battles with venomous fire ants. The crazy ants, currently sweeping across the southern United States, secrete the acid from their abdominal glands. Scientists believe the behaviour likely evolved in the two species native region of South America, and that the competitive advantage it provides is the reason why crazy ants are gradually displacing fire ants in the States. Conducted by the Brackenridge Field Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, the research finds that N. fulva captured 93% of contested resources and even invaded and usurped fire ant mounds.

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