Agriculture
Getting the dirt on carbon
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Got Milk? How?
Amphibians
Frogs and Toads
Toads
Bullfrogs
Animals
Not Slippery When Wet
Navigating by the Light of the Moon
Life on the Down Low
Behavior
Surprise Visitor
Night of the living ants
Wake Up, Sleepy Gene
Birds
Songbirds
Finches
Pigeons
Chemistry and Materials
Sugary Survival Skill
These gems make their own way
A Spider's Silky Strength
Computers
Fingerprint Evidence
Getting in Touch with Touch
Small but WISE
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Supersight for a Dino King
Dino-Dining Dinosaurs
Ferocious Growth Spurts
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Drilling Deep for Fuel
Explorer of the Extreme Deep
Environment
Will Climate Change Depose Monarchs?
To Catch a Dragonfly
Spotty Survival
Finding the Past
Big Woman of the Distant Past
Writing on eggshells
Oldest Writing in the New World
Fish
Dogfish
Salmon
Goldfish
Food and Nutrition
Eat Out, Eat Smart
Packing Fat
Sponges' secret weapon
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Pronouns
Order of Adjectives
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT Mathematics
A Sweet Advance in Candy Packing
Math is a real brain bender
Prime Time for Cicadas
Human Body
Surviving Olympic Heat
Spitting Up Blobs to Get Around
Hey batter, wake up!
Invertebrates
Sea Urchin
Snails
Walking Sticks
Mammals
Deers
Walrus
Bulldogs
Parents
Children and Media
How children learn
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Physics
Black Hole Journey
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Invisibility Ring
Plants
Bright Blooms That Glow
Plants Travel Wind Highways
Farms sprout in cities
Reptiles
Iguanas
Snapping Turtles
Reptiles
Space and Astronomy
Evidence of a Wet Mars
Ready, Set, Supernova
Chaos Among the Planets
Technology and Engineering
Machine Copy
Beyond Bar Codes
Dancing with Robots
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
Charged cars that would charge
Revving Up Green Machines
Robots on a Rocky Road
Weather
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Science loses out when ice caps melt
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™