Ant uses chemicals to bind its own corpse to an attacker

Anyone with a lick of sense knows that you don't go up against ants in a fight, especially if they're Camponotus cylindricus. Try anything, and they'll explode themselves and decorate your body with their corpses.

Camponotus cylindricus is a red-brown ant that crawls around the Borneo forests, making life miserable for any creature that attempts to attack its nest. The ants have managed to work out a system of self-defense that involves not only mass suicide, but mass chemical explosion.


The ant attack is horrifying. When a strange creature approaches the nest of ants, the sentry ants won't just bite it, they'll try to climb up to its face and grab hold of it with their teeth. Since they don't have any kind of timed explosion gear, they can't simply die quickly. Instead, they bend their bodies so violently that their outsides burst and a layer of chemicals explodes forward like juice out of a squeezed orange slice.

The liquid (which is, actually, orange) is carried in special sacks that run the length of the ant's body. The compartments are specially lined, because the liquid is nasty stuff. Not only is it an irritant to any external organs, it dries solidly enough to permanently glue the ant's body to its attackers. This is why the ant will try to grab on to the intruder's face. With any luck, this will blind the attacker, or seal its mouth shut, and keep it from going on to the rest of the hive. Even if the ant doesn't get to blind the attacker, it makes an unwieldy burden that the creature has to carry around for the rest of its life.

Image: Borostyan Magazin
Via Discover Magazine.

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