Chemical profile of ants adapts rapidly

Friday, August 11, 2017 - 09:22 in Biology & Nature

The bodies of ants and other insects are covered with a thin, wax-like layer that protects them from desiccation and enables them to exchange information, in social insects, for instance, to differentiate between enemies and nestmates. Its double function makes this layer not only essential to survive but also unique to the extent that it can serve as an unambiguous characteristic for the identification of an insect species, similar to a fingerprint. The layer makes it possible to differentiate even between closely related species. This is due to its composition of cuticular hydrocarbons that form a specific chemical profile. Biologists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany recently established that ants can adapt their hydrocarbon profile quickly during the course of evolution and rapidly adapt to external selection pressures.

Read the whole article on Physorg

More from Physorg

Latest Science Newsletter

Get the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!

Check out our next project, Biology.Net