Carpenter ant

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Carpenter ant
Camponotus sp (worker)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Camponotus
Mayr, 1861
Type species
Formica ligniperda
Latreille, 1802
Diversity
> 1,000 species
 
Jump to: navigation, search
Carpenter ant
Camponotus sp (worker)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Formicinae
Tribe: Camponotini
Genus: Camponotus
Mayr, 1861
Type species
Formica ligniperda
Latreille, 1802
Diversity
> 1,000 species

Carpenter ants are large (.25 to 1 in/0.64 to 2.5 cm) ants indigenous to many parts of the world. They prefer dead, damp wood in which to build nests. They do not eat it, however, unlike termites.[1] Sometimes carpenter ants will hollow out sections of trees. The most likely species to be infesting a house in the United States is the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus). However, there are over a thousand other species in the genus Camponotus.

Carpenter ant cleaning antennae

Contents

Symbionts

Camponotus sp.

All ants in this genus, and also some related genera, possess an obligate bacterial endosymbiont called Blochmannia.[2] This bacterium has a small genome, and retains genes to biosynthesize essential amino acids and other nutrients. This suggests the bacterium plays a role in ant nutrition. Many Camponotus species are also infected with Wolbachia, another endosymbiont that is widespread across insect groups.

Habitat

Carpenter ant species reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. They cut "galleries" into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. Certain parts of a house, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches, are more likely to be infested by Carpenter Ants because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.[3]

As pests

Carpenter ants can damage wood used in the construction of buildings. They can leave behind a sawdust-like material called frass that provides clues to their nesting location. Carpenter ant galleries are smooth and very different from termite-damaged areas, which have mud packed into the hollowed-out areas.[3]

Control involves application of insecticides in various forms including dusts and liquids. The dusts are injected directly into galleries and voids where the carpenter ants are living. The liquids are applied in areas where foraging ants are likely to pick the material up and spread the poison to the colony upon returning.

Exploding ants

In at least nine Southeast Asian species of the Cylindricus complex, including Camponotus saundersi, workers feature greatly enlarged mandibular glands that run the entire length of the ant's body. They can release their contents suicidally by performing autothysis, thereby rupturing the ant's body and spraying toxic substance from the head, which gives these species the common name "exploding ants."[4][5][6] The ant has an enormously enlarged mandibular gland, many times the size of a normal ant, which produces the glue. The glue bursts out and entangles and immobilizes all nearby victims.[7][8]

The termite species Globitermes sulphureus has a similar defensive mechanism.[9]

Selected species

C. pennsylvanicus (Winged Male)
Camponotus queen
Wood damage by C. herculeanus

See List of Camponotus species for a complete listing of species and subspecies.

References

  1. ^ http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/dk1015.html
  2. ^ http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2206011
  3. ^ a b Catseye Pest Control http://www.catseyepest.com
  4. ^ Jones, T.H.; Clark, D.A.; Edwards, A.A.; Davidson, D.W.; Spande, T.F. and Snelling, Roy R. (2004): "The Chemistry of Exploding Ants, Camponotus spp. (Cylindricus complex)". Journal of Chemical Ecology 30(8): 1479–1492. doi:10.1023/B:JOEC.0000042063.01424.28
  5. ^ Emery, Carlo (1889). Viaggio di Leonardo Fea in Birmania e regioni vicine. XX. Formiche di Birmania e del Tenasserim raccolte da Leonardo Fea (1885–87).  Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria (Genova) 2 7(27): 485–520. [PDF]
  6. ^ "Utahn enters world of exploding ants". Deseret News. September 11, 2002. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/936318/?pg=2.  University of Utah graduate student Steve Cook explained "They've been called kamikaze ants by other researchers because they tend to explode or self-destruct when they're attacked or harassed in any way."
  7. ^ Vittachi, Nury (June 6, 2008). "The Malaysian ant teaches us all how to go out with a bang". Daily Star (Dhaka). http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=39830. [dead link]
  8. ^ Ridley, Mark (1995). Animal Behaviour (Second ed.). Blackwell Publishing. p. 3. ISBN 0-86542-390-3. http://books.google.com/?id=IbT2pd_p8AUC&pg=PA2&dq=%22Camponotus+saundersi%22#v=onepage&q=%22Camponotus%20saundersi%22. Retrieved 2009-09-26. 
  9. ^ Robert S. Anderson, Richard Beatty, Stuart Church (2003-01). Insects and Spiders of the World. 9. p. 543. ISBN 978-0-7614-7334-3. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=V1h8nqFXjN8C&pg=PA543. 

Further reading

External links