When it comes to spider and insect bites, people are always concerned about the offending bugs venom. However, this is a silly concern on the part of humans since we are so much larger in stature than little bugs, which means that being significantly harmed by arthropod venom is a long shot. But insects use their venom regularly on prey, and sometimes, insect venom can kill other insects from across the room. The Crematogaster striatula happens to be one of these insects. This ant can emit a toxic substance that kills termites before the termites become aware of an enemy presence.
These African ants emit a poison from a gland known as the dufour gland, which is located near the ant’s stingers. As far as researchers can ascertain, this toxic substance serves three purposes. One purpose is to attract other ants to the fight. It is not uncommon for other ants to get a whiff of the poison, which they take as a sign of distress among one of their own. The smell of the ant poison also repels ants that are of a different type, and therefore alien to the African ants. And, of course, the poison is meant to paralyze and kill ants.
These deadly African ants live among rotting tree branches in cocoa-tree plantation. While dwelling within trees, these ants will continue their search for termites. The ants will never stop preying on the termites despite the fact that their termite prey has developed the chemical means necessary to defend themselves. A termite also possesses a more durable bodily structure than the African ants.
Eventually researchers learned that the poison emitted by the African ants is more dangerous to termites than any other insect invader. Most of the time, when ants are cornered by an enemy, the ants will make a run for it like cowards; on the other hand, termites usually stand their ground, much to their detriment in this case. Researchers discovered that African ants only needed to be ten millimeters away from a termite in order to kill it with its poisonous cloud of venom.
Have you ever picked up on a scent emitted from an insect? A stink bug, for example.