There are thousands of different ant species in the world but characteristics of most of the species are still not known. One of the fiercest predator ant species named, “Trap-jaw ant” is known for their spring-loaded jaws and powerful stings, but it was truly unknown how they begin their life. Scientists made an another breakthrough in zoology by finding how trap-jaw ants develop themselves from larvae stages.
A research team from North Carolina State University conducted their studies on the larvae of three trap-jaw ant species. In the journal of Myrmecological News researchers described that they belongs to Odontomachus genus and their lives start with a spiny, hairy, fleshy blob hanging from the ceiling and walls of the underground nest.
HOD of the Evolutionary Biology & Behavior Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and lead researcher Adrian Smith said in a statement,“Beyond furthering our understanding of these social insects, the work also offers us a little more insight into how the natural world works”. He also explained that trap-jaw ants go through three stages of larval development in their life cycle.
According to Phys.org, there are more than 16,000 ant species has been described, but the developmental stages from egg to adult less than has been discovered half of one percent until the present. Researchers used scanning electron microscopy to determine the larval development stages of trap-jaw ants.
During the test, researchers measured several anatomical features such as head widths and body lengths of hundreds of trap-jaw ant larvae. Microscopy images reveal they have four "sticky doorknobs" on the backs of first and second instars that they use as a sucker pad to climb walls and ceilings. The hairs of second and third instars of the larva contain frustum with spire and the third instar also has silk-spinning pseudo palps.