When it comes to protecting themselves, the animals of this world have varying methods in which they can achieve this goal. Take for instance a cow or goat, they have horns that they can use for self defence. If you were to attack a snake you would find yourself injected with venom. If you were to intrude on a squid thy would squirt ink at you. But the Malaysian exploding ant? Well lets just say, WTF! It doesn’t exactly walk away from a predator completely intact.
Imagine a large bug about to pounce on the ant. The ant runs away, but the bug pursues it. The ant, using its fight or flight mechanism turns to face the bigger bug. The big bug pounces, and in defence the ant explodes. Mission accomplished. Not only has the ant avoided being a tasty morsel of the larger bug, but it has also managed to kill the bigger bug. It’s kind of a hollow victory though. The keen eyed readers among us would have already identified the massive failure in this technique. That’s right. It’s not much of a self defence feature if you wind up in the same state as your victim.
What makes the Malaysian exploding ant explode?
It appears as though it is the mandibular gland that makes the ant explode. The mandibular gland is most commonly used for digestive enzymes in most ant species, but it is massively expanded in the Malaysian exploding ant. The mandibular gland is so massive in this ant that it even extends into its abdomen, occupying a large space there. They initially started using this gland for digestion, but when they began to use the secretions for self defence, the glands grew to their present day size. But they have one more secret to reveal. The secretions from their glands, and explosion is extremely sticky. S sticky in fact that it can immobilize the appendages of their attackers.