Fear of Ants

Gelis agilis

Gelis agilis
Photo: Rui Andrade

Many ants are well protected from predators by toxic chemicals and alarm pheromones. Wolf spiders are visual predators that attack a variety of insects, but avoid ants. Other insects can also avoid attacks by spiders if they look and smell like ants.

Gelis agilis is a wingless, ichneumon wasp that is vulnerable to attack by predators such as spiders. Gelis agilis mimics the black garden ant Lasius niger, a species that is common in its habitat. It also produces a chemical, 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one, that is used by ant species for defense and as an alarm pheromone.

Malcicka, M. & colleagues. 2015. Multi-trait mimicry of ants by a parasitoid wasp. Nature Scientific Reports. 2015/01/27/online

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, Biomaterials, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

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