Trap-Jaw Ant’s mandibles help it not to become Prey of Antlion
A novel research unveiled that the trap-jaw ant is quite famous for super-strong mandibles. It has the ability to kill its prey, handle eggs and protect its nests from the intruders.
Now, the researchers have come to know that these ants help the tropical ants from predators and especially from the deadly antlion. Study's co-author Andrew Suarez, an ant expert at the University of Illinois in Urbana, affirmed that the ant is able to perform such tactics by positioning its jaws downward.
Suarez affirmed, "They produce so much force that when they strike [a part of the ground] that's relatively immovable, that force gets projected back on the ant and they go flying through the air".
The researchers said that it is a good thing, as being able to bug out even at the last moment could be a difference between death and life for the high-flying insects.
Study's lead researcher Fredrick Larabee from the University of Illinois affirmed that antlions are the larvae of a dragon-fly like insect known as lacewing. The larvae make pits, which are actually traps for prey and especially for ants.
The antlion takes soil out of the hole in the concentric circles making it an unstoppable slope. And, when unknowingly an insect steps into that pit then it is left with no other option but to get trapped in the antlion's submerged jaws.
Even if insect tries to save its life, the antlion lava does not to do so. It throws soil to it to make the wall more destabilized. At the last, the antlion uses its pincers to catch hold the prey and take it below the surface.
During lab experiments, the researchers noted that a species of trap-jaw ant called Odontomachus brunneus was fast enough to run so fast that it could escape the pit on which antlion has latched on. But when the speed does not work then these ants use their mandibles.
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