As with most ants the Malaysian ant lives in a colony consisting of a Queen, drones, worker ants, soldiers, etc. These colonies are fascinating and the ants seem to work well together to survive. The Malaysian ant is a little different than most ants in the way they defend their colony.
The Malaysian exploding ant has one of the weirdest, and coolest methods of self defence in the animal kingdom. In fact, Its defensive behaviours include self-destruction by autothysis, a term coined by Maschwitz and Maschwitz (1974).
The Malaysian Ant is a species of black and orange ants that are known for its rather explosive self-defense mechanism. Found on the forest floor of the country of Malaysia, the Malaysian Ant has the ability to self-explode when threatened.
While this seems odd, these ants follow a rigorous rule where protecting the colony is its number one priority. In an instance when a predator attacks the colony, groups of these ants will march right up to the enemy. Once they are in range, they contract their abdomen, which causes its venom-filled glands to rupture, spraying deadly poison at the threat. These ants die in the process, but the venom is deadly enough to take down the predator.
I think I will give you a little scenario to illustrate their unique adaptation.
So it is a beautiful sunny day, the little Malaysian ant decides to go and gather some food for the colony. Just as the ant is getting back from its foraging expedition the dark clouds cover the sky and he realizes that his colony is under attack. All of a sudden a soldier ant runs by with an attacker right behind him. The food gathering ants take cover and watch the war unfold. At the point of invasion the soldier ants know what their fate will be. In order to protect their colony the ant will run away from their family, just like any classic hero. As the ant gets far enough away it is time for him to take a stand and fight the predator. The unsuspecting attacker comes in for the kill when all of a sudden, BOOM! The little ant just sacrificed his life for the colony by exploding and spreading poison on the predator, which will effectively eliminate the threat. What? You weren’t expecting a kamikazee ant?
What makes the Malaysian exploding ant explode?
the soldier version of the Malaysian ant have large glands full of poison. When there is a legitimate threat to the colony the soldier ant can contract their abdomen causing these glands to explode spraying posion in all directions. This self-sacrifice is heroic as the ants work together to protect their colony.