Certain ant species commit suicide to protect their territory.

Certain ant species commit suicide to protect their territory.

Certain ant species commit suicide to protect their territory as stinging wasn’t effective against some predators.

These ants have evolved the ability to self-sacrifice, to kill one or more enemies by wraping themselves around an opponent & exploding.

Releasing sticky corrosive material killing both.

Some ants belonging to the genus Camponotus and Colobopsis have adapted to using autothysis as an altruistic defensive trait to better fight against arthropods and to possibly deter vertebrate predators for the benefit of the colony as a whole.

These ants use autothysis as a self-destructive defense to protect their territory but more so for combat purposes during territorial battles.

Early ants used mechanical means of stinging to defend themselves but the stings showed to be more useful against large vertebrate predators and not as successful against other arthropods.

So selection for autothysis in ants evolved as a way to more effectively kill arthropod enemies.

The products of autothysis in ants are sticky and corrosive substances, released by the ants’ contraction of their gasters, leading to a burst at an intersegmental fold as well as the mandibular glands. The ants use this self-sacrifice to kill one or more enemies which entangle themselves in this sticky substance.

The worker ant has been observed to wrap itself around an opponent, placing its dorsal gaster onto the opponent’s head before expelling sticky corrosive material from its mouth and gaster, permanently sticking to the opponent while killing itself and the enemy as well as any other enemies that become stuck.

Ants mostly use autothysis against other arthropods, like invading ant colonies or against termite colonies.

This form of defence is ineffective towards larger vertebrate predators such as lizards or birds however the compounds used in autothysis have also been explained to have some use in deterring vertebrate predators from eating the ants because these products are inedible


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