Crazy Ants Neutralize Fire Ant Venom By Secreting Formic Acid

Posted on February 13, 2014

Crazy ants come well prepared to battles with enemy fire ants. They have the ability to detoxify fire ant venom by secreting formic acid and smearing it all over their bodies. The ability was discovered by researchers from the University of Texas. The formic acid is secreted from a special gland at the tip of the crazy ant's abdomen.

University of Texas scientists dosed crazy ants with fire ant venom in lab experiments. 98% of the ants allowed to detoxify themselves survived. When scientists sealed the crazy ants' venom glands with nail polish only about half of them survived.

Here is a fierce battle between tawny crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva) and fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). Take a look:



The research was published here in Science Express.