Tag Archives | Ants

Scientists Construct 3-D Model of Ant To Study Strength

PIC: (C)

PIC: OSU (C)

These studies could lead to remarkable new developments in cybernetic technology. Look for it on a battlefield or near a police roadblock (hard to tell the difference these days) near you!

A recent study into the biomechanics of the necks of ants – a common insect that can amazingly lift objects many times heavier than its own body – might unlock one of nature’s little mysteries and, quite possibly, open the door to advancements in robotic engineering.

A small group of engineers at The Ohio State University combined laboratory testing and computational modeling conducted at the Ohio Supercomputer Center to determine the relationship between the mechanical function, structural design and material properties of the Allegheny mound ant (Formica exsectoides). Their results were recently published in an article, “The exoskeletal structure and tensile loading behavior of an ant neck joint,” in the Journal of Biomechanics.

The study focused on the ant’s neck – the single joint of soft tissue that bridges the stiff exoskeleton of the ant’s head and thorax.

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Dopamine Turns Worker Ants Into Killer Queens

“Guaranteed to blow your mind… (anytime…)”

The ritualized fighting behavior of one ant species is linked to increases in dopamine levels that trigger dramatic physical changes in the ants without affecting their DNA, according to research from North Carolina State University, Arizona State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Scientists Create Supersoldier Ants

One has to ask: can anything good come out of this? Via PhysOrg:

There are over 1100 species of Pheidole genus ants, and most individual ants belong to either the worker or soldier caste. In only eight of the Pheidole species, some individuals can belong to a “supersoldier” subcaste instead, and these ants fight off predatory army ant species and bar their way by blocking off the entrances to the nest using their over-sized heads. Now, scientists have managed to create supersoldiers in other species by reactivating ancestral genes.

supersoldier ant

The international team of scientists, led by Dr Ehab Abouheif of the Department of Biology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, looked at the genomes of two ant species that produce supersoldiers. They identified the genetics behind the supersoldier caste and were able to activate the genes by treating ant larvae with methoprene, a growth hormone. As expected, the ant larvae became supersoldiers.

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