Ant smell will help create a spider repellent

Ant smell will help create a spider repellent
Ant smell will help create a spider repellent

Biologists have shown that red myrmic ants leave a chemical trail that repels different types of spiders.


Scientists have noticed that many species of North American spiders do not set up their nets in places where the red ants Myrmica rubra previously lived. These common and aggressive insects often feed on arachnids, and they seem to recognize certain chemical signals that ants leave when trying to avoid them. Such substances can form the basis of new "natural" repellents to repel spiders. Scientists write about this in a new article published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

In the vast majority of cases, the spiders we deal with in life are completely harmless. Nevertheless, the fear of these animals is extremely widespread: arachnophobia is one of the oldest fears of mankind. Well, the inhabitants of tropical regions are really not immune from meeting with truly dangerous spiders. However, if there are means to protect against annoying insects, "spider" repellents have not yet been created.

Such hope is provided by new work carried out by Andreas Fischer and his colleagues at Simon Fraser University, Canada. Noting that many spiders avoid the former nests of myrmics, the scientists set up a simple laboratory experiment. Spiders of various species, including the highly venomous black widow Latrodectus hesperus, were given the opportunity to choose from three empty containers, one of which had previously held ants. The spiders avoided this "room".

Since the container itself was empty, the scientists concluded that M. rubra ants had left a chemical trail in it, which arachnids are trying to avoid. Now the authors of the study are going to find out the nature of this smell, to determine its active ingredient. Perhaps it will help create the first "spider" repellents.

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