Agriculture
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
New Gene Fights Potato Blight
Amphibians
Bullfrogs
Toads
Salamanders and Newts
Animals
Armadillo
Walktopus
G-Tunes with a Message
Behavior
Storing Memories before Bedtime
Mosquito duets
Face values
Birds
Owls
Kiwis
Quails
Chemistry and Materials
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Hair Detectives
Picture the Smell
Computers
Electronic Paper Turns a Page
Look into My Eyes
Troubles with Hubble
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Tiny Pterodactyl
An Ancient Spider's Web
Hunting by Sucking, Long Ago
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Earth's Lowly Rumble
Groundwater and the Water Cycle
Petrified Lightning
Environment
A Vulture's Hidden Enemy
Food Web Woes
Whale Watch
Finding the Past
Of Lice and Old Clothes
Words of the Distant Past
Childhood's Long History
Fish
Mako Sharks
Sharks
Great White Shark
Food and Nutrition
Food for Life
How Super Are Superfruits?
Building a Food Pyramid
GSAT English Rules
Problems with Prepositions
Who vs. That vs. Which
Finding Subjects and Verbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
March 21-22, 2013: Over 43,000 students will take the GSAT Exam
Scotiabank Jamaica Foundation Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) Scholarships
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Mathematics
Deep-space dancers
A Sweet Advance in Candy Packing
Losing with Heads or Tails
Human Body
What the appendix is good for
Running with Sneaker Science
Teen Brains, Under Construction
Invertebrates
Giant Squid
Scallops
Grasshoppers
Mammals
Foxes
Wolves
Dingoes
Parents
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Children and Media
Physics
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Echoes of a Stretched Egg
Plants
Farms sprout in cities
White fuzzy mold not as friendly as it looks
Tracking the Sun Improves Plant Pollen
Reptiles
Snapping Turtles
Snakes
Copperhead Snakes
Space and Astronomy
Unveiling Titan
Cousin Earth
Intruder Alert: Sweeping Space for Dust
Technology and Engineering
A Micro-Dose of Your Own Medicine
Machine Copy
Squeezing Oil from Old Wells
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
What is a Noun
Pronouns
Transportation
Troubles with Hubble
Where rivers run uphill
Charged cars that would charge
Weather
A Change in Climate
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
A Dire Shortage of Water
Add your Article

The case of the headless ant

Halloween is right around the corner, which means scary movies are playing at the theater and trick-or-treaters are shopping for costumes. This year, there’s no need to go looking for spooky thrills and chills in graveyards — inspiration can come from nature. Consider the case of fire ants and phorid flies. Fire ants are venomous pests that roam the southeastern United States and pack a powerful punch with their bite. Phorid flies are tiny bugs, half the size of a grain of rice. When a phorid fly lands on a fire ant, it deposits eggs in the ant’s chest. An egg hatches, and the fly pupa makes its way to the ant’s head. And cuts the ant’s head off. Scientists have known for years that flies can decapitate ants, but they didn’t know how the flies were able to find the unlucky ants in the first place. According to a recent study, the flies track the ants by tracking chemicals from a surprising source: the ants’ venom. In other words, the fire ants’ own poison works against them. The study was led by Henry Fadamiro, an entomologist at Auburn University in Alabama. An entomologist is a scientist who studies insects. Fire ants give off a wide range of different chemicals, and Fadamino and his team wanted to know which of these chemicals attracted the flies. In their experiment, they attached small electrodes to the antennae of the flies and then exposed the flies’ antennae to different chemicals from fire ants. These electrical devices were able to detect signals from the nervous systems of the flies. As a result, they were able to determine which chemicals caused the flies to get excited. The flies responded to chemicals from the venom of the fire ants. Fadamiro and his team then separated the venom into its different chemical components and tested those chemicals as well. They wanted to know which specific chemical compounds the flies liked best. The venom is mostly made up of alkaloids, which are chemical compounds that contain nitrogen and can be poisonous. Fadamiro’s research may result in a new way to control the fire ant population in the United States. By understanding what makes phorid flies tick, scientists may be able to figure out how to attract them to areas—say, where fire ants thrive. If phorid flies can be introduced to these areas, they may help take the sting out of fire ant infestations. “We hope if we get the right combination, that these … methods will begin to really make a difference,” says Sanford Porter, a fire ant specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service in Gainesville, Fla. Fadamiro’s research also explores how gruesome some animals can be. And even though this science is not just a Halloween curiosity, it may inspire a spooky holiday. For a scary costume this year, why not grab a friend and go as a naturally creepy duo: the headless fire ant and the phorid fly? POWER WORDS venom A poisonous secretion of an animal, such as a snake, spider, or scorpion, usually transmitted by a bite or sting gland A cell, a group of cells, or an organ that produces a secretion for use elsewhere in the body or in a body cavity or for elimination from the body chemical A substance with a distinct molecular composition that is produced by or used in a chemical process electrode A solid electric conductor through which an electric current enters or leaves an electrolytic cell or other medium. alkaloid Any of various organic compounds, normally with basic chemical properties and usually containing at least one nitrogen atom. Many alkaloids, such as nicotine, quinine, cocaine, and morphine, are known for their poisonous or medicinal attributes. nitrogen A nonmetallic element that constitutes nearly four-fifths of the air by volume, occurring as a colorless, odorless, almost inert diatomic gas, N2, in various minerals and in all proteins and used in a wide variety of important manufactures, including ammonia, nitric acid, TNT, and fertilizers. pupa The nonfeeding stage between the larva and adult in the metamorphosis of some insects

The case of the headless ant
The case of the headless ant








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™