The world is home to many weird and wonderful creatures.
Malaysia, for example, is home to one of the rarest dog species in the world:
But that's not the only unique animal species that is native to our country.
We, in fact, have an ant species that would sacrifice itself to protect its colony: by exploding.
Yep, you heard that right; they sacrifice their limbs and body just to make sure that their ant buddies can survive.
Meet the Malaysian exploding ant
The colobopsis saundersi
is an ant species belonging to the genus Colobopsis
According to National Geographic
, the Malaysian exploding ant species has been discovered for more than a hundred years now, but they’re very rare, and can only be found in Malaysia (in the forests of Borneo, to be exact) and some parts of Brunei.
The brownish-red ant is just as tiny as any ordinary ant, but it is equipped with an enormously enlarged mandibular (jaw) gland.
Oh, in case you're wondering, there's a reason for that abnormally large gland: it produces and stores a poisonous yellow goo.
And the ant goes boom
The Malaysian exploding ant is considered as a soldier ant, which means that its main job is to protect the colony and man roadblocks, assuming ants observe the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) as well.
When a larger predator (like a spider, for example) invades their home, the ant would first raise up their rumps as a warning.
If the predator ignores the warning like how stubborn Malaysians ignore the CMCO
, that's when things will get messy.
(We wanted to say 'loud and messy', but we are not sure if the explosion emits a loud boom, or it's just like a muted pop)
One or more exploding ants would bite down on the predator and angle their backsides in close.
The ants would then contract its abdominal muscles to build up the poison and just like a time bomb, rupture their mandibular glands, spraying the poisonous and sticky secretion in all directions from the anterior region of its head.
The secretion, which functions as a chemical irritant and contains corrosive properties, is strong enough to kill the predator, but if it's big and lucky enough to survive the kamikaze attack, it will definitely think twice before messing with another exploding ant colony.
Unfortunately, the exploding ants will die, but hey, teamwork makes the dream work.