Agriculture
Watching out for vultures
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Middle school science adventures
Amphibians
Salamanders
Tree Frogs
Newts
Animals
A Tongue and a Half
Little Bee Brains That Could
Putting a Mouse on Pause
Behavior
Night of the living ants
Fish needs see-through head
Reading Body Language
Birds
Owls
Parrots
Ducks
Chemistry and Materials
Nanomagnets Corral Oil
A Light Delay
Hitting the redo button on evolution
Computers
Hubble trouble doubled
Middle school science adventures
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Did Dinosaurs Do Handstands?
Feathered Fossils
The bug that may have killed a dinosaur
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Unnatural Disasters
On the Trail of America's Next Top Scientists
Less Mixing Can Affect Lake's Ecosystem
Environment
Pumping Up Poison Ivy
Forests as a Tsunami Shield
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Finding the Past
Ancient Art on the Rocks
Preserving Ancient Warrior Paint
Digging Up Stone Age Art
Fish
Lampreys
Halibut
Basking Sharks
Food and Nutrition
The mercury in that tuna
The Essence of Celery
Chew for Health
GSAT English Rules
Capitalization Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Adjectives and Adverbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Mathematics
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
Setting a Prime Number Record
Math Naturals
Human Body
Tapeworms and Drug Delivery
Kids now getting 'adult' disease
Music in the Brain
Invertebrates
Wasps
Mussels
Butterflies
Mammals
Lion
Cocker Spaniels
Pomeranians
Parents
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Physics
IceCube Science
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Electric Backpack
Plants
Fungus Hunt
Farms sprout in cities
Springing forward
Reptiles
Caimans
Alligators
Gila Monsters
Space and Astronomy
Intruder Alert: Sweeping Space for Dust
Slip-sliding away
Saturn's New Moons
Technology and Engineering
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
Bionic Bacteria
Dancing with Robots
The Parts of Speech
What is a Preposition?
What is a Noun
Problems with Prepositions
Transportation
How to Fly Like a Bat
Revving Up Green Machines
Where rivers run uphill
Weather
The solar system's biggest junkyard
Earth's Poles in Peril
Where rivers run uphill
Add your Article

Night of the living ants

When an ant dies, other ants move the dead insect out of the nest. Sometimes, the dead ant gets moved away very soon — within an hour of dying. This behavior is interesting to scientists, who wonder how ants know for sure — and so soon — that another ant is dead. One scientist recently came up with a way to explain this ant behavior. Dong-Hwan Choe is a biologist, a scientist who studies living things, at the University of California, Riverside. Choe found that Argentine ants have a chemical on the outside of their bodies that signals to other ants, “I’m dead — take me away.” But there’s a twist to Choe’s discovery. These ants are a little bit like zombies. Choe says that the living ants — not just the dead ones — have this death chemical. In other words, while an ant crawls around, perhaps in a picnic or home, it’s telling other ants that it’s dead. What keeps ants from hauling away the living dead? Choe has an answer for that question, too. He found that Argentine ants have two additional chemicals on their bodies, and these tell nearby ants something like, “Wait — I’m not dead yet.” So Choe’s research turned up two sets of chemical signals in ants: one says, “I’m dead,” the other set says, “I’m not dead yet.” Other scientists have tried to figure out how ants know when another ant is dead. If an ant is knocked unconscious, for example, other ants leave it alone until it wakes up. That means ants know that unmoving ants can still be alive. Many scientists, like Choe, think there must be a chemical on a dead ant’s body. Choe suspects that when an Argentine ant dies, the chemical that says “Wait — I’m not dead yet” quickly goes away. Once that chemical is gone, only the one that says “I’m dead” is left. When other ants detect the “dead” chemical without the “not dead yet” chemical, they haul away the body. This idea — that some chemicals fade away — was Choe’s hypothesis, or idea to test, for his experiment. To test his hypothesis, Choe and his team put different chemicals on Argentine ant pupae. A pupa is the stage of an ant’s life just before it becomes an adult. When the scientists used the “I’m dead” chemical, other ants quickly hauled the treated pupae away. When the scientists used the “Wait — I’m not dead yet” chemicals, other ants left the treated pupae alone. Choe believes this behavior shows that the “not dead yet” chemicals override the “dead” chemical when picked up by adult ants. And that when an ant dies, the “not dead yet” chemicals fade away. Other nearby ants then detect the remaining “dead” chemical and remove the body from the nest. Understanding this behavior may help scientists figure out how to stop Argentine ants from invading new places and causing problems. Choe would like to find a way to use the newly discovered chemicals to spread ant killer to Argentine ant nests. The ants’ removal behavior is important to the overall health of the nest. Their behavior is not so different from ours: When a human dies, the body is usually buried or cremated within a few days. “Being able to quickly remove dead individuals and other possible sources of [disease] … is extremely important for all animals living in societies, including us,” says Patrizia d’Ettorre of the University of Copenhagen. “Think about all the effort and money that we invest daily in waste management.” Power words: (from Yahoo! Kids Dictionary) Hypothesis: A tentative explanation for an observation, phenomenon or scientific problem that can be tested by further investigation. Chemical: A substance with a distinct molecular composition that is produced by or used in a chemical process.

Night of the living ants
Night of the living ants








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™