Carpenter ant can explode at will As a last resort

Carpenter ant can explode at will As a last resort

Some species of carpenter ant can explode at will. As a last resort, they contract their abs to rupture their internal glands, resulting in a suicidal burst of corrosive, immobilizing glue.

Camponotus saundersi is a species of ant found in Malaysia and Brunei, belonging to the genus of Carpenter ants. Workers can explode suicidally as an ultimate act of defense, an ability it has in common with several other species in this genus and a few other insects. The ant has an enormously enlarged mandibular (jaw) gland, many times the size of a normal ant, which produces defense adhesive secretions


Its defensive behaviours include self-destruction by autothysis, a term coined by Maschwitz and Maschwitz (1974). Two oversized, poison-filled mandibular glands run the entire length of the ant’s body. When combat takes a turn for the worse, the worker ant violently contracts its abdominal muscles to rupture its gaster at the intersegmental fold, which also bursts the mandibular glands, thereby spraying a sticky secretion in all directions from the anterior region of its head.The glue, which also has corrosive properties and functions as a chemical irritant, can entangle and immobilize all nearby victims.

Direct observation by Jones (2004) found that C. saundersi adhesive secretions range from bright white at the end of the wet season to cream or pale yellow in the dry season and start of the wet season. These variations in coloration represent a shift in internal pH, likely due to seasonal changes in diet.