Document Detail


Explosive backpacks in old termite workers.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22837520     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
By nature, defensive behavior is risky. In social insects, such behavior is more likely to occur in individuals whose potential for other tasks is diminished. We show that workers of the termite Neocapritermes taracua develop an exceptional two-component suicidal apparatus consisting of copper-containing protein crystals, stored in external pouches, and internal salivary glands. During aggressive encounters, their bodies rupture, and the crystals react with the salivary gland secretion to produce a toxic droplet. Both the amount of defensive substances and the readiness to explode increase with workers' age, as their food-collecting ability declines.
Authors:
J Šobotník; T Bourguignon; R Hanus; Z Demianová; J Pytelková; M Mareš; P Foltynová; J Preisler; J Cvačka; J Krasulová; Y Roisin
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Science (New York, N.Y.)     Volume:  337     ISSN:  1095-9203     ISO Abbreviation:  Science     Publication Date:  2012 Jul 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-07-27     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0404511     Medline TA:  Science     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  436     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 166 10 Prague, Czech Republic.
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