Termites bombers "own" chemical weapons


27/07/2012

In termite species Neocapritermes taracua of caste workers at a certain age, biologists have found such a property as conversion to suicide. During the fight, they are able to apply the two-venom, which is activated by the explosion.

The termites (white ants) - detachment of herbivorous insects. This is a primitive creature of some insects. They feed on cellulose, which is in rotten wood, leaves, trees and grass. In this species is highly developed caste organization of life. They are divided by manufacturers, working individuals, soldier.

Their habitat is the tropical rainforests and temperate regions. Scientists have discovered some unusual property of these insects, while trying to catch one of them. Ant just burst right in the tweezers. It was observed that some of the individuals working on the front caste are torso blue deposits. With this comes the ability to explode termites. In combat, this belt is broken by the term and its content is connected to the glands secreting insects. This process leads to the formation of some poisonous liquid that kills enemies, although no blue crystals or their saliva is not poisonous.

Scientists first encounter with these insects use two-component chemical weapons. Analyses showed that those blue deposits are nothing like copper - containing crystals with a mass of 76 kDa protein, but neither function nor even its amino acid sequence has not been identified by scientists. Presumably, he is an enzyme capable of the reaction with saliva to produce poison.

Most interesting is that suicide bombers have Neocapritermes taracua were representatives from the caste of workers, not soldiers who provide security in the colony. It should be noted that the explosive crystals bear the only old individuals. Scientists have determined their age wear on the jaw. They believe that such a colony gets rid of the working individuals who are not in power to carry out its mission.

It has been proved that the use of toxic substances found in other termites, but they belonged to the caste of soldiers and produced it ourselves, but it was not a two-component.

News prepared by: A. CHirkova


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