The Power of Paramedic Ants

Ants are a communal insect that has their strength in their numbers. After they find food, possibly battle for it, there can be many battle wounds along the way. It has been found in African Matabele ants, which leave their home base in masses to attack termite nests for food. Many ants loose limbs and even their lives during the process. Yet, an interesting discovery has shed some light on how the group manages to recover from the war of food.

 

Paramedic Ants

When Matabele ants feed attack termites, they do it in groups up to 600 ants. The larger ants break through the natural environment while the smaller ants attack their targets and bring the dead termites back to the ant’s nest. Research has found that ants have the ability to not only pick up their fellow comrades after injury and take them back to home base, but they also have antibiotic saliva to help heal any wounds.

Field experiments conducted in the humid savannah woodland at Comoé National Park, Ivory Coast, scientists found that returning ants carried any ant with one or two injured limbs back to the base. Yet, if the injuries were too extensive, they were left to die. The researchers moved six different ant nests into artificial ones and recorded footage of their behaviors.

“We don’t know if they are just removing dirt from the wound or applying an antimicrobial substance to fight off an infection. But we do know that if they don’t receive the treatment, 80% die within 24 hours. If you allow the treatment for an hour, the ants survive,” said Erik Frank, a behavioral ecologist at the University of Wurzburg.

The ants in distress from the injury communicate to the other ants through pheromones. Once the paramedic ants come to the rescue, the injured ants tuck in the legs to allow a smooth transport back to their nest. Frank also attempted to create an artificial rescue by coating an ant in pheromones. The ants came to the rescue but promptly abandoned the mission when the “suffering” and failed to position its legs for proper transport.

This fascinating aspect of ant society is quite complex and sophisticated behavior. Biological advances like this can open many doors in the knowledge of animal behavior and science itself.

Why Science Blogging is Important

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In today’s ever-evolving world, science data advances almost in the blink of an eye. This is why science blogging is so important. Science blogging helps to disperse state-of-the-art scientific data nearly as soon as research is done and validation is complete.

It is difficult to imagine what daily life would be like without science blogging offering a wide range of topics updating scientific research into major health, nature and environmental issues.

For example, with the avid interest in ancestral genealogy, science bloggers use links to the most recent scientific research on an 8 million-year-old gene that could help citrus growers or the recent discovery that a praying mantis has 3-D vision. Each of these spins off into blog articles with comments by online readers.

 

Breaking News and Science Blogging

When the U.S. NASA launched a huge Delta 4 heavy rocket known as Space X’s Falcon Heavy rocket, science bloggers were full of the scientific details.

 

Not only is science blogging important in the U.S., but access to science blogs from around the globe provide a different perspective of important scientific studies and research, such as how genes may cause mental health problems or the new tick-borne disease discovered by Swedish scientists.

The United Kingdom’s science news that underwater volcanoes may be the cause of dinosaur extinction has science bloggers posting their views on this issue.

 

Science Blogging Supports the Public

One of the biggest benefits of science blogging is that it supports the public and stakeholders by continually injecting a consortium of public and stakeholder views and opinions on scientific issues.

During the late 1990s, the effects of acid rain kept science bloggers busy providing the public with a variety of opinions and ideas.

Online science blogs are a form of scientific communication shared over the internet platform and social media. Choices of science blogs range from those dedicated to science research, specific branches of science and science blogs that encourage students to take a greater interest in science.

 

The Convenience of Science Blogging

For professionals and neophytes alike, science blogging is readily accessible. It requires only minimal knowledge of using a search engine to find the science blog of choice. For example, one of the most popular nature science blogs is found at https://nature.com.

Pythons Invading Florida: How Science is Fighting Back

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Florida is known for their Everglades being homes to large gators, pesky mosquitos and now 15-feet long pythons. The Burmese Pythons are not native to Florida but have populated enough to negatively influence the natural food cycle of the Everglades and become a threat to humans. These invasive snakes are big, hidden, and reproduce in large amounts. Researchers and scientists are studying not only their influence on the food chain but also how to get rid of this species from the area.

 

The Invasion

The reasons for this quick increase of pythons are quite simple. Not only South Florida the perfect wet, mammal-rich environment for snakes to thrive, these snakes are egg-producing machines. One single female can lay over 50 eggs. The population of pythons has increased so much that the state has created programs that allow for rewards for the successful elimination and capturing of pythons. Many of the pythons being captured through this program are spanning over 10 feet long and are becoming so large that they have the ability to consume a grown adult. These snakes have the ability to grow to over 20 feet long and could consume a human in minutes.

 

The Food Chain

One of the other negative impacts of the increasing presence of pythons is their influence on the availability of food in the Everglades. Pythons eat many sized mammals from small rats to large deer and anything in between. These snakes are now clearing out many of the food sources for other animals and insects, especially mosquitos.

Prior to the arrival of pythons, hispid cotton rats were about 15 percent of the mosquitoes’ diet. Mosquitos also preyed on raccoons, opossums, and deer. Due to pythons taking a bite out of the other animals’ populations, mosquitos are left to only rats. Their diet now is made up of three-quarters rat. The negative to mosquitoes feeding off of rats more means there is an increase of them spreading the Everglades virus, which is common among rats of the Everglades. Nathan Burkett-Cadena, a UF/IFAS assistant professor of entomology has stated, “As far as I am aware, this is the first time that researchers have found that an invasive predator (such as the python) has caused an increase in contact between mosquitoes and hosts of a human pathogen,”.

New Research on Super Bugs

The term “super bug” may be a scary idea but the more we research this global issue, the more we can prevent them from taking over. Superbugs refer to illnesses that normal vaccines or modern medications can not seem to manage because they have become resistant to modern medicine. Imagine the common cold that not even antibiotics can not take care of. There have been some more recent breakthroughs with the superbug situation but there are a few things that everyone must know.

 

In the U.S.

In 2015, it was reported that 2 billion people get infected with superbugs and that over 2,000 die from them. The government has also stepped in and begun releasing plans on how to combat this life threatening issue hitting the medical field and society itself. Superbugs can form from any type of bacteria. The worry is that doctors will run out of antibiotics to treat them.

 

Recent Discoveries

Combining Vaccines

Researchers from the University of Buffalo has found that a new trio of antibiotics will be able to stand up to these antibiotic-resistant microbes. The researchers turned to new antibiotic dosing strategies by creating antibiotic cocktails. They conducted studies of multiple different combinations of over 15 antibiotics paired with polymyxin B to find that after 24 hours, the bacteria were undetectable. On a more technical level, the microbes had the ability to regrow to normal after 96 hours. It was only the triple combination that allowed for the prevention of regrowth in bacteria.

 

Bats and Bees?

New research out of Halifax is also looking for alternative ways to fight medicine-resistant “bugs”. Rather than combining different vaccines to halt bacteria growth, this research is looking for a more natural solution. Bats and bees are now being researched to find new ways to fight bacteria. These two creatures are always in bacteria’s way and have biologically adapted to naturally fight off bacterial infections. There are millions of different bacteria thriving in the same places where bats and bees thrive. With a better understanding of how bats form white-nose syndrome or how colony collapse disorder occurs in bee groups.

A better understanding of how this influences other animals could lead to a better understanding of how we can handle the situation occurring in humans. Superbugs could become a much more prevalent issue in society if we do not find new ways to keep them at bay.