Agriculture
Flush-Free Fertilizer
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Amphibians
Salamanders and Newts
Toads
Salamanders
Animals
A Microbe Nanny for Young Wasps
Little Bee Brains That Could
Fishy Cleaners
Behavior
Memory by Hypnosis
Brainy bees know two from three
The Electric Brain
Birds
Kookaburras
Hummingbirds
Cardinals
Chemistry and Materials
Sticking Around with Gecko Tape
A New Basketball Gets Slick
Smelly Traps for Lampreys
Computers
Galaxies on the go
Small but WISE
Nonstop Robot
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Early Birds Ready to Rumble
A Rainforest Trapped in Amber
Dinosaur Eggs-citement
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Groundwater and the Water Cycle
Distant Quake Changes Geyser Eruptions
Rocking the House
Environment
Island Extinctions
The Oily Gulf
A Newspaper's Hidden Cost
Finding the Past
If Only Bones Could Speak
Watching deep-space fireworks
Chicken of the Sea
Fish
A Jellyfish's Blurry View
Parrotfish
Electric Ray
Food and Nutrition
Building a Food Pyramid
Symbols from the Stone Age
Chocolate Rules
GSAT English Rules
Adjectives and Adverbs
Capitalization Rules
Finding Subjects and Verbs
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
The Annual GSAT Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Exam Preparation
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Mathematics
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Detecting True Art
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
Human Body
A New Touch
Walking to Exercise the Brain
A Better Flu Shot
Invertebrates
Ants
Centipedes
Corals
Mammals
Armadillo
Asiatic Bears
Kangaroos
Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Children and Media
How children learn
Physics
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Strange Universe: The Stuff of Darkness
Extra Strings for New Sounds
Plants
Seeds of the Future
A Change in Leaf Color
When Fungi and Algae Marry
Reptiles
Snakes
Boa Constrictors
Gila Monsters
Space and Astronomy
Burst Busters
Chaos Among the Planets
Ringing Saturn
Technology and Engineering
Searching for Alien Life
A Clean Getaway
Drawing Energy out of Wastewater
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Preposition?
Pronouns
Transportation
Ready, unplug, drive
Robots on the Road, Again
Troubles with Hubble
Weather
Warmest Year on Record
Either Martians or Mars has gas
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
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™