Science2014-06-12 2:45 PM

火蚁被疯蚁击败的秘密 Chemical Warfare Among Invaders: A Detoxification Interaction Facilitates an Ant Invasion

论文摘要 

美国墨西哥湾沿岸的居民正在习惯于被黄褐色的疯蚁叮螫并开始忘却自上世纪30年代以来就已经占据该地区的火蚁了。据一项新的研究披露,这些入侵的黄褐色的疯蚁——它们正在快速地取代美国南部许多州的火蚁——会使用一种独特的化学防御而让它们在与火蚁的较量中取胜。Edward LeBrun及其同事观察到,疯蚁会在其体表覆盖上其腹部腺体的分泌物,而后者可在它们被火蚁叮螫后有效地给其伤口解毒。据研究人员披露,在被叮螫后,疯蚁会用其后腿与中腿站立,将它们改进的腹部卷曲到其身体的下方并开始用分泌的蚁酸清洁自己。他们说,这些解毒行为可让98%的被火蚁叮螫的黄褐色疯蚁存活下来,而与其相比较的那些没有解毒行为的蚂蚁只有48%能够存活下来。而且由于这两种入侵蚂蚁物种在阿根廷北部、巴拉圭及巴西南部的原生地带有重叠,LeBrun及其同事提示,这些疯蚁的强有力的防御系统是在那里在与火蚁和原生南美蚂蚁物种激烈争夺资源时演化出来的。研究人员的发现还凸显了了解入侵物种在其原来生态系统中的行为以改进在异乡消灭它们的重要性。

Abstract 

As tawny crazy ants (Nylanderia fulva) invade the southern United States, they often displace imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta). After exposure to S. invicta venom, N. fulva applies abdominal exocrine gland secretions to its cuticle. Bioassays reveal that these secretions detoxify S. invicta venom. Further, formic acid from N. fulva venom is the detoxifying agent. N. fulva exhibits this detoxification behavior after conflict with a variety of ant species; however, it expresses it most intensely after interactions with S. invicta. This behavior may have evolved in their shared South American native range. The capacity to detoxify a major competitor’s venom probably contributes substantially to its ability to displace S. invicta populations, making this behavior a causative agent in the ecological transformation of regional arthropod assemblages.

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