How Far Will Insects Go to Protect Their Territory?

As incredible as it sounds, there are some species of insects that will sacrifice themselves to protect their nests. When faced with an intruder, the Camponotus cylindricus ant of Borneo will grab onto the invader and squeeze itself until it explodes. The ant's abdomen ruptures, releasing a sticky yellow substance that will be lethal for both the defender and the attacker, permanently sticking them together and preventing the attacker from reaching the nest.

Another interesting fact about Camponotus cylindricus ants is that they do not merely protect their immediate surroundings, but also patrol the territory surrounding the nest, sometimes hundreds of yards away.

Other self-sacrificing insects:

  • Older termites have a "poison backpack" which they can burst, killing themselves and other predators, in order to defend their nests.
  • When a honeybee stings in defense of the hive, the stinger and venom sac remain embedded in the predator's body. When the stinger is pulled out, the bee dies shortly after.
  • Honeybees will voluntarily separate themselves from the hive if infected with Varroa mites. Even more incredibly, developmentally damaged bees will crawl out of the hive, apparently to help protect the health of the other bees.
More Info: NPR

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