Using the “kiss” ants communicate
Biologists from Switzerland found that using “kissing” as the ants feed the larvae and determine their future role in the social hierarchy.
Some social insects such as bees or ants, use trophallaxis – exchange food with each other “mouth to mouth”. Scientists from the University of Lausanne found that during this process there is a lot more than just feeding.
Biologists have suggested that through the “kiss” ants can send each other chemical signals that allow members of a colony communicate with each other. Using mass spectrometry and sequencing the RNA, scientists have found a chemical cocktail that pass each other ants of the species Camponotus floridanus.
It turned out that the cocktail is digestive and other related proteins as well as microRNAs, hydrocarbons and a key component of the juvenile hormone, which regulates the process of metamorphosis in insects. It turned out that when the larvae were fed with this hormone, they grew in ant workers. According to the researchers, adjusting the liquid composition for “the kiss”, the ants can choose who will be the larvae when they grow up.
Then biologists analyzed the composition of these fluids from bees and two other species of ants. The researchers also found in a compound responsible for the process of growth and development of insects. However, insects are not the only one who exchanged fluids with each other. According to the chief author of the article, breast milk, semen, saliva – these substances, which people share with each other, just waiting to be explored.
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