The Chemistry Of Exploding Ants: Oh, Oh

A natural exclamation, to a person upon first encountering the theme of the study “The Chemistry Of Exploding Ants”, might be “Oh-Oh!” That is in fact part of the chemical story, as illustrated in the figure below, which is reproduced from the study.

The Chemistry Of Exploding Ants, Camponotus SPP. (cylindricus COMPLEX),” T.H. JONES, D.A. CLARK, A.A. EDWARDS, D.W. DAVIDSON, T.F. SPANDE and R.R. SNELLING, Journal of Chemical Ecology, Vol. 30, No. 8, August 2004. The authors explain:

“A detailed comparative analysis of the exocrine chemistry of nine Bruneian Camponotus species in the cylindricus complex is reported. Workers of these species are known to have hypertrophied mandibular glands and release their glandular contents suicidally from the head by rupturing the intersegmental membrane of the gaster.”