Biologists have discovered a new species of ant capable of tearing themselves in an "explosion" when threatened.
Colobopsis Explodens is one of 15 new species of exploding ants recently discovered by researchers in Borneo. When threatened by other insects the workers ants violently contract their abdominal muscles until they split, releasing a toxic goo.
The toxin, which biologists report as smelling like curry, is produced in a gland behind the ants jaw, and when released can kill or injure other insects. When attacked the ants will also lock their jaws on opponents, so that any not killed by the toxin will be handicapped by having to carry the dead ant's body around.
Although exploding or self-sacrificing is not unheard behavior the Colobopsis Explodens is unique in that it's confrontations often happen one-on-one, and far away from the nest.
In addition to exploding, scientists also noted the ants large, block shaped head, which they use to physically barricade other insects from their nests.
One researcher captured the ant's usual behavior on video.
And people were hyped for the ant on ant grudge match.
What did you do today?— isitoveryet (@oedipawondered) April 20, 2018
Well, it's kind of like cage fighting.. but with ants. For research.
Though some felt cheated by the lack of an actual explosion.
Anyone else expecting to see some ant shrapnel, ant spray, or something that indicates an "explosion"?— Dan Lam (@DanLam211) April 20, 2018
For those of you wondering. It isn't an Explosion. It's the small ant ripping it's own body apart releasing the toxins inside to stop the big ant.— Valloth45 (@Valloth45) April 20, 2018
Any many others thought it cruel to pit the ants against each other in a death match.
The part where the ant’s trying to get outta there but can’t cause it’s trapped and they just keep recording 😳— Mia (@ms_shakur) April 20, 2018
The victim didn't deserve this death. How sad. I'm sorry, little guy, that humans are so sick and demented.— Tag Ninja (@tagninja40) April 20, 2018
I feel bad for that ant....— Jay (@SportsFanatic_0) April 20, 2018
How can people just watch it suffer like that and not do anything about it? Smh
Dang, i feel bad for the other ant. I was all a set up, poor thing 😔— shortlittlekidd (@shortlittlekidd) April 20, 2018
Anyone else feel bad for the ant? Poor fella 😔 that is taking one for the team too far— LoveMySpouse (@LoveMySpouse) April 19, 2018
While they may not be the most extreme example, the exploding ants remind just how wild nature can get.