A team of scientists at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, United States, has revealed a special mechanism that shows how ants regulate aggression and acceptance between friends and foes, as per reports. The study shows that ants use a special mechanism to switch on aggression towards intruders to defend themselves. A press release by Vanderbilt University further showed the contents of the research, making it very convenient to understand how ants use the ‘lock-and-key’ mechanism to control their behaviour. They can feel the difference between nestmates and non-nestmates using chemical markers which consists up of specific odorants on their bodies.
The ants are able to smell the odours and decode the specific compounds on intruder ants from other areas. Depending on the odour, they decide whether to accept a nestmate or show aggression to non-nestmate. A senior author of the paper, Laurence Zwiebel said that Eusocial ants are one of the biggest success stories in evolutionary biology and added that they have advanced organisational behaviours and complex social interactions. Zwiebel is also honoured with Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Biological Sciences. He further added that for years, the researchers have evaluated that ants have specific chemical markers which play crucial roles in their interactions. But surprisingly, ants not only have these markers but also require the signals to be precisely decoded by specific receptors to trigger aggression.
Meanwhile, Monash University-led international study has discovered that the grey seals clapped its flippers underwater to communicate with potential mates during the breeding season. Naturist and researcher Dr Ben Burville at Newcastle University has reportedly captured grey seals making gunshot-like sound for the first time at Farne Island.
Dr David Hocking, the lead study author at Monash University School of Biological Sciences told the media that the discovery of the grey seals clapping isn’t a surprise as the seals have been spotted clapping in zoos and aquaria. He said that while zoo seals are trained by the professionals for the entertainment these wild grey seals were discovered clapping their flippers on their own.