The Ants In The Coal Mine

Ants Carrying Brood

Ants Carrying Brood

Coal mining brings coal to the surface along with many of the toxic metals and minerals that are buried in the earth. Heavy metals can be toxic to insects as well as people. Two species of ants, Cataglyphis longipedem and Camponotus compressus inhabit coal mines but differ in tolerance to heavy metals. Cataglyphis longipedem thrives in soils with zinc and manganese contamination. Body concentrations increase in the presence of higher soil levels. Cataglyphis longipedem may use these metals to strengthen cuticular structures needed to tunnel is hard, dry compacted soils. Camponotus compressus fares poorly in the presence of these minerals and are pollution sensitive. The differential response to these toxins makes these ant species potentially important as bioindicator species.

Shbbir R. Khan & Satish K. Singh & Neelkamal Rastogi. Heavy metal accumulation and ecosystem engineering by two common mine site-nesting ant species: implications for pollution-level assessment
and bioremediation of coal mine soil. Environ Monit Assess (2017) 189:195
DOI 10.1007/s10661-017-5865-y

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an 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.
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One Response to The Ants In The Coal Mine

  1. Pingback: The Ants In The Coal Mine – Entomo Planet

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