General, Research, Technology

Some ants can change the size of their brains. Why are they doing this?

There are about 14,000 species of ants in the world,who live in different parts of our planet. Many of them have amazing abilities like inflicting powerful bites, shooting dangerous acid, and so on. Scientists recently discovered an equally impressive skill in Indian ants - they can change the size of their brains. At some point, their brains can become tiny and then regain their normal size. During this amazing process, individuals completely change their role in the colony, and all this has been proven in a scientific experiment. Within the framework of this article, we will find out in detail what kind of ants they are and why they need such an unusual ability. It is worth noting that they are far from the only animals that can change the size of their brains.

The ant of the species Harpegnathos saltator, which will now be discussed

Jumping ants from India

The ability to regulate brain volumewas found in ants of the species Harpegnathos saltator, which live in India. Previously, they were known only for the ability to make jumps up to 2 and up to 10 centimeters long. The body length of these creatures usually does not exceed 10 millimeters. Females are reddish in color, while males are darker in color. They are active predators, and they show the greatest activity in the morning and afternoon. In the evening and at night, insects rest.

Previously, these ants were only known to be able to jump.

As in colonies of other ants, they havethe queen who gives offspring. As a rule, the death of the main female leads to the disappearance of the entire group of ants. But Indian ants can prevent this by choosing a new queen among the workers. In the course of a kind of coronation, ordinary females begin to poke at each other with ties - the so-called antennae located on the heads of insects. It is not known exactly how, but as a result of this duel, an individual is determined, with which very strange processes subsequently take place.

Interesting fact: the queens so chosen are calledgamergats. In fact, these are just working individuals that acquire the ability to mate. Colonies that do not have a real queen are called gamergats.

How do ants survive?

Once the worker becomes queen,her anatomy changes. Her brain volume is reduced by as much as 19%, but her ovaries are enlarged. The new queen stops producing poison and, in case of danger, does not go on the attack for anything and hurries to hide somewhere. All these complex processes occur only in order to save the colony from death. Now it is clear how ants manage to survive for millions of years - they are just very close-knit.

Ant queens are larger than workers

During the experiment, scientists found out thatthe smaller ant brains can return to their previous shape. In the course of scientific work, the researchers resettled several workers from the colony and gave them the opportunity to choose a new queen. When she appeared and fully formed, scientists brought her back to the colony, where there is already a queen. After about 8 weeks, the false queen returned to her previous appearance: the brain became larger again, the ovaries decreased, and the character became combative again.

Ants Harpegnathos saltator on video

This discovery shows how muchliving organisms can be plastic. Scientists have previously known that in some songbirds, the brain enlarges in the spring and shrinks at other times of the year. Brain shrinkage has also been seen in hibernating animals like hamsters. But in invertebrates, such an ability is observed for the first time and this is a rather large scientific discovery.

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But what impresses me the most is the clown fishwhich, if necessary, can completely change their gender. In the groups of these fish, the female plays the main role and if she dies, the fish are in great danger. They have only two choices: either to go on a risky journey and find a new female, or to change the sex of one of the males. When the male realizes that it is more profitable for him to become a female himself, the most complex processes begin in his body: male hormones disappear, and female hormones begin to be actively produced. After a month, the male's genitals turn into ovaries, that is, outwardly, he changes almost completely. You can read more about this amazing phenomenon at this link.

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