In the world, there are about 14,000 species of ants that live in various parts of our planet. Many of them have amazing abilities like applying the strongest bites, shooting dangerous acid, and so on. Recently, scientists have discovered an equally impressive skill in Indian ants вЂ” they can change the size of their brains.
At a certain 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. In this article, we will learn in detail what these ants are and why they need such an unusual ability. It is worth noting that they are not the only animals that can change the size of their brains.
Jumping Ants from India
The ability to regulate the volume of the brain was 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 centimeters high 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, with the greatest activity in the morning and afternoon. In the evening and at night, the insect's rest.
Previously, these ants were only known to be able to jump
As in the colonies of other ants, they have a 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 working individuals. In the course of a kind of coronation, ordinary females begin to poke each other with their antennae вЂ” 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 occur.
Interesting fact: the queens chosen in this way are called gamergate. In fact, these are just working individuals who gain the opportunity to mate. Colonies that do not have a real queen are called gamergate colonies.
How do ants survive?
As soon as a working individual becomes a queen, their 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, never goes on the attack and rushes to hide somewhere. All these complex processes occur only in order to save the colony from destruction. Now it is clear how ants manage to survive for millions of years вЂ” they are just very cohesive.
Queen ants are larger than workers
During the experiment, scientists found that the reduced brain of ants can regain its former shape. In the course of the scientific work, the researchers removed several working individuals from the colony and gave them the opportunity to choose a new queen. When she appeared and was fully formed, the scientists returned her back to the colony, where there is already a queen. After about 8 weeks, the false queen returned to her former appearance: the brain became larger again, the ovaries shrank, and the character became combative again.
The discovery shows how plastic living organisms can be. Scientists have previously known that in some songbirds, the brain increases in the spring and decreases at other times of the year. Brain shrinkage has also been observed in hibernating animals like hamsters. But in invertebrate creatures, this ability is observed for the first time and this is quite a big scientific discovery. But most of all I am impressed by the clownfish, which can completely change their gender if necessary.
In groups of these fish, the main role is played by the female and if she dies, the fish are in great danger. They have only two choices: either go on a risky journey and find a new female or change the sex of one of the males. When the male understands that it is more profitable for him to become a female, 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, he changes almost completely externally.